Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these 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.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

The Pope’s bold new vision
2013-11-26, CNN blog
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:22:18
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/26/the-popes-bold-new-vision/

Pope Francis on [November 26] issued a bold new document – in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation” – called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.” In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. It is to be a joyful community of believers completely unafraid of the modern world, completely unafraid of change and completely unafraid of challenges. The exhortation [expresses] an overriding concern for the poor in the world. Francis champions an idea that has lately been out of favor: the church’s “preferential option” for the poor. “God’s heart has a special place for the poor,” the Pope says. But it is not enough simply to say that God loves the poor in a special way and leave it at that. We must be also vigilant in our care and advocacy for them. Everyone must do this, says the Pope. “None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice.” And in case anyone misses the point, after a critique of the “idolatry of money” and an “economy of exclusion,” the Pope says: “The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.” This does not mean simply caring for the poor, it means addressing the structures that keep them poor: “The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed.”

Note: For how you can help to end poverty through microlending, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Police Arrest Aerialist for Performing Above the Williamsburg Bridge
2011-11-21, The Atlantic
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:20:55
http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2011/11/police-arrest-aerialist-for-...

In July, 24-year-old Seanna Sharpe scaled the Williamsburg Bridge to perform a jaw-dropping, and totally illegal, acrobatics show. Shortly thereafter, she was arrested and handcuffed. According to this short documentary, she was charged with a felony, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor. Fans raised her bail in under an hour, via Twitter. Filmmaker and artist Ronen V captures the whole amazing story in this video, incorporating footage shot by the crowd on cell phones and cameras.

Note: You can watch the fun, death-defying video at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A Murmuration of Starlings
2011-11-03, The Atlantic
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:15:37
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/11/video-a-murmuration-of-...

This is your moment of zen today. Two adventurers set out in a canoe and happened upon a [flock of] starlings (collectively known as a murmuration) doing their amazing collective dance in the sky. Watch the video. Just take it in. The starlings' coordinated movements do not seem possible, but then, there they are, doing it. Scientists have been similarly fascinated by starling movement. Those synchronized dips and waves seem to hold secrets about perception and group dynamics. Last year, Italian theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi took on the challenge of explaining the [phenomenon]. What he found ... is that the math equations that best describe starling movement are borrowed "from the literature of 'criticality,' of crystal formation and avalanches -- systems poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation." They call it "scale-free correlation," and it means that no matter how big the flock, "If any one bird turned and changed speed, so would all the others." It's a beautiful phenomenon to behold. And neither biologists nor anyone else can yet explain how starlings seem to process information and act on it so quickly. It's precisely the lack of lag between the birds' movements that make the flocks so astonishing.

Note: Don't miss the hauntingly beautiful video at the link above. For more, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Are we all psychic? Scientists believe that animals - including humans - have a collective consciousness
2013-11-19, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-26 07:59:57
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2509971/Are-PSYCHIC-Scientists...

Why do people think about someone right before they call, for example, or ‘have a feeling’ something is about to happen before it does? It may be due to something called collective consciousness - a term used by certain scientists to describe the practice of humans, and animals, sharing behaviours and ideas with each other telepathically. The "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon", for example, was an idea put forward by South African zoologist and ethologist Lyall Watson and his scientific author colleague Lawrence Blair in 1975. During the 1950s, macaques on the island of Koshima learned to wash sweet potatoes and explicitly passed this skill onto younger members of the group. This behaviour then spread and was observed on neighbouring islands among groups of macaques who had never [come] into contact with each other. [Watson and Blair] chalked this up to the monkeys sharing a collective consciousness, often referred to as a ‘shared mind’ or ‘hive mind’, in which the practices were shared telepathically. More recently ... blue tits ... taught themselves [to] break into milk bottles and drink the cream from the top. Similar groups of the same [non-migratory] species [later] exhibited the same skills in other countries throughout Europe and Asia. A science journal in 2010 published [the results of experiments] by Professor Daryl Bem, a physicist from Cornell University, that [indicated] humans have similar psychic abilities supposedly seen in the birds and monkeys. Professor Bem carried out nine different experiments involving more than 1,000 volunteers and all but one came down on the side of these so-called psychic theories.

Note: For a most astounding and moving documentary on a woman named Anna Breytenbach who communicates directly with animals, click here, or watch the three-minute trailer at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Whiz kid from Sierra Leone built own battery, radio transmitter
2012-11-20, NBC News
Posted: 2013-11-26 07:58:01
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/whiz-kid-sierra-leone-built-own-battery-rad...

Kelvin Doe’s neighborhood in Sierra Leone has power lines, but they seldom deliver electricity. So, the 16-year-old whiz kid built his own battery out of acid, soda, and metal parts scavenged from trash bins that he now uses to light up area homes and help him work on his own inventions. Among other gadgets to his credit are a homemade radio transmitter, plus a generator to power it, that he uses to run his own community radio station under the handle DJ Focus. “People normally call me DJ Focus in my community because I believe if you focus you can do invention perfectly,” he said in a video. Doe’s engineering prowess was noticed by David Monina Sengeh, a graduate student MIT Media Lab, during a summer innovation camp called Innovate Salone that he runs in Sierra Leone. Sengeh arranged for Doe to visit the top-flight engineering school this fall. “It’s an opportunity for him to create the future that he wants to live in,” Sengeh said in the video. Check it out below to learn more about Doe’s inspirational story and his inventions.

Note: Don't miss the awesome video of Kelvin at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Quantum weirdness: What we call 'reality' is just a state of mind
2009-03-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-26 07:56:36
http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2009/mar/17/templeton-quantum-entangl...

What quantum mechanics tells us ... is surprising to say the least. It tells us that the basic components of objects – the particles, electrons, quarks etc. – cannot be thought of as "self-existent". The reality that they, and hence all objects, are components of is merely "empirical reality". This reality is something that, while not a purely mind-made construct as radical idealism would have it, can be but the picture our mind forces us to form of [a] mysterious, non-conceptualisable "ultimate reality", not embedded in space and (presumably) not in time either. The quantum mechanical formalism ... compels us to consider that two particles that have once interacted always remain bound in a very strange, hardly understandable way even when they are far apart, the connection being independent of distance. Even though this connection-at-a-distance does not permit us to transmit messages, clearly it is real. In other words space, so essential in classical physics, seems to play a considerably less basic role in quantum physics. [Erwin] Schrödinger had even given [this reality] a name: entanglement, and had claimed entanglement is essential. A real breakthrough took place [when John Bell] published his famous inequalities, which - for the first time - opened a possibility of testing whether or not entanglement-at-a-distance had experimentally testable consequences. Entanglement-at-a-distance does physically exist, in the sense that it has physically verifiable (and verified) consequences. Which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of our most engrained notions about space and causality should be reconsidered.

Note: For lots more intriguing scientific information suggesting reality is much more fluid and miraculous than most might suspect, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans' personal debt
2013-11-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:12:34
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/occupy-wall-street-activists-15m...

A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans' personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit. Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy's Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before "abolishing" it, freeing individuals from their bills. By purchasing the debt at knockdown prices the group has managed to free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt, mainly medical debt, spending only $400,000. "We thought that the ratio would be about 20 to 1," said Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt and professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. "In fact we've been able to buy debt a lot more cheaply than that." The Rolling Jubilee project was mostly conceived as a "public education project", Ross said. "Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market." The group has ... acquired the $14.7m in three separate purchases, most recently purchasing the value of $13.5m on medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and Puerto Rico, Rolling Jubilee said in a press release. “No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” said Laura Hanna, an organiser with the group. Hanna said 62% of all personal bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Truth Demands To Be Lived
2013-11-12, Daily Good
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:10:30
http://www.dailygood.org/story/606/truth-demands-to-be-lived-richard-whittaker

A few years ago Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus. Richard Whittaker: You told me your early experiences in school were difficult. Americ Azevedo: It wasn’t until I hit first grade that I was exposed to English—and to other children. Kids punched me. I threw up all the time. I felt like I lost the light. RW: It’s interesting that you describe losing something. AA: I lost something. I feel that most people lose it at some point in their lives. But losing at that stage is so dramatic. I think school knocks it out of us. School is so artificial, so industrial. All of the sudden it’s a totally different experience from that matrix of love and all the things that make a human being comfortable. And it takes a long time to recover that feeling. There were bullies. There was one boy who beat me up and somewhere along the way I was able to communicate with him and he became my friend. Then he protected me from the other bullies. Later on I realized that the biggest protection we have as human beings is communication. Now I understand it’s a form of love—even for the bully, but it’s become twisted. But that’s how it is for so many people. Somehow the psyche has become twisted and the good has become bad and the bad has become good.

Note: If you would enjoy getting an inspiring email once a day with stories like this, consider signing up at www.dailygood.org. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




'Bank Of Happiness' Lets Customers Deposit And Withdraw Good Deeds
2013-07-18, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:09:01
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/bank-of-happiness_n_3617833.html

When a Massachusetts woman needed help perfecting her English, she posted a simple six-word note online. Three eager fluent speakers willing to teach for free quickly responded to the call. "Hi Mary, totally willing to help via email!" a man named Chris wrote back. That’s how easy it is to get assistance, of nearly any kind, at the Bank of Happiness. Formed five years ago by Airi Kivi, an Estonian-based psychologist, the bank serves as a portal for people around the world to post services they need and those they’re willing to deliver –- completely gratis. No money or credit is ever exchanged. “We were inspired by the clear understanding that there is a gap in the society between humane caring and economic well-being,” Kivi wrote on the Bank of Happiness site. “We were then and are today convinced that the formula of happiness lies in noticing others. We feel that people want to help others, but often don't know how.” But what’s most bolstering to Kivi is that the offers for help, far outweigh the number of ads seeking favors. Some of the most popular services these “bankers” are willing to offer include, IT assistance, listening to a stranger’s problems, financial consulting and dog walking. “Aren’t we just surrounded by the nicest people?,” Kivi wrote on the site. “Happy banking!”

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Free Mobile App Lets Users Send and Receive Love Around the World
2013-04-23, MarketWatch/Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:07:41
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/free-mobile-app-lets-users-send-and-receive-...

Want to make the world a better place? Do you believe the power of love can transform the world? LovePowerup ... makes sending love to anyone who needs it as simple as the swipe of a finger. The goal: bring about world peace. LovePowerup users can send love around the globe to people who request love. They can also ask for a little love when they need a lift, and someone in the world will send them love. LovePowerup creator Matt Fortnow was inspired by a quote from Jimi Hendrix, who told his fans, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." "I've always been inspired by Jimi's message and wanted to figure out a way to utilize current technology to increase the power of love in the world," Fortnow explains. "LovePowerup helps us realize we are not isolated individuals; we're all interconnected. The more we feel that connection with others around the world, the sooner we will know peace." Fortnow was moved to create LovePowerup after recovering from a serious illness, where compassion and love from his doctor played a key role. A former entertainment attorney, Los Angeles-based Fortnow has had other good ideas. Fortnow is now focused on LovePowerup and other projects promoting a better world.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Marvel Comics Introducing a Muslim Girl Superhero
2013-11-06, New York Times
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:15:58
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/books/marvel-comics-introducing-a-muslim-gi...

With most superheroes, when you take away the colorful costume, mask and cape, what you find underneath is a white man. But not always. In February, as part of a continuing effort to diversify its offerings, Marvel Comics will begin a series whose lead character, Kamala Khan, is a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City. No exploding planet, death of a relative or irradiated spider led to Kamala’s creation. Her genesis began more mundanely, in a conversation between Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker, two editors at Marvel. “I was telling him some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American,” Ms. Amanat said. “He found it hilarious.” Ms. Amanat and Mr. Wacker noted the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity. The creative team is braced for all possible reactions. “I do expect some negativity,” Ms. Amanat said, “not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.” But “this is not evangelism,” Ms. Wilson said. “It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith.” The series, Ms. Wilson said, would deal with how familial and religious edicts mesh with super-heroics, which can require rules to be broken. Ms. Wilson said the series was “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” Though here, she adds, that happens “through the lens of being a Muslim-American” with superpowers.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




UC plants seeds of growth for local farmers
2013-11-04, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:09:49
http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/UC-plants-seeds-of-growth-for-local-farmer...

Emma Torbert, a stone-fruit grower, didn't know what to expect when she got off a bus to tour wholesale food businesses in the Bay Area. By the time she went home to her farm near Davis, her head was filled with possibilities. She and 17 other growers, participating in a University of California workshop, learned that being a small farmer is actually a boon in today's market, where consumers are clamoring for fresh and local foods with a story. The demand is great enough that wholesalers are doing something entirely new - passing up large-scale commercial growers for people like Torbert, who farms only 4 acres. "The trip has been encouraging," said Torbert, 34. "I currently sell to markets in my area, but am interested in expanding. Today, I got the impression that there is a lot of demand." Many shoppers are demanding that their neighborhood retailers carry fruits and vegetables from local farmers instead of huge conglomerates that buy from worldwide growers. In 2009, Mintel, a global marketing research company, found that 1 in 6 consumers made it a point to buy food grown regionally to support the local economy. Shoppers also perceived that food produced relatively close to home was fresher, better tasting and better for the environment, according to the firm. Last year, Mintel found that 52 percent of consumers polled said that it was even more important to buy local fruits and vegetables than organic produce. The tour was organized by the UC Davis Cooperative Extension, the university's Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education Program along with the Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




An end to hunger could be a Buffett away
2013-10-22, USA Today
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:08:24
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/10/22/warren-buffett-son-fig...

Howard G. Buffett has seen the face of hunger up close. He has the pictures, taken from his own camera, and a new book, 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, to prove that hunger is as abundant in some places on Earth as food is plentiful in a suburban American ShopRite. Buffett, the 58-year-old son of billionaire investor and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffett, knows the haunting stare of the undernourished. He has seen the look in the long lines snaking around a soup kitchen in Decatur, Ill. In the "hollow and tortured" eyes of a mom holding her emaciated and dying 12-year-old son in drought-stricken Ethiopia. In Totonicapan, Guatemala, where an 11-year-old girl named Maria was draping freshly picked corn over the rafters of her metal roof to keep it away from rodents. [Buffett] spends a lot of his time in poor, inhospitable places around the globe armed with seeds and hope in a quest to help people who have little or nothing to eat. 40 Chances ... chronicles his first steps on this long journey in 40 essays that feature the hungry, those like him helping the hungry, and the places where people fight for their survival one morsel at a time. He is fighting a 40-year war against hunger. But he carries a camera instead of a gun. Seeds instead of bullets. He also comes armed with money, $3 billion [from] the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the organization funded by his famous dad back in 2006.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Richie Parker, Star NASCAR Engineer At Hendrick Motorsports, Doesn't Have Arms
2013-07-23, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:06:57
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/23/richie-parker-nascar-engineer-withou...

The fact that Richie Parker can ride a bike doesn't sound impressive -- until you see him do it. Same goes for the car repairs he makes using power tools. Parker was born without arms, a disability he's overcome time and time again, ultimately leading him to his job engineering chassis and body components for Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR's most winning organization. "Based on his resume, I knew he could do the things that I needed him to do, it was more a question of how,” Rex Stump, engineering manager at Hendrick, said of Parker. Just like every other hurdle in his life, Parker found a way, placing the keyboard and mouse on the floor, then operating both with his feet to build custom high-performance automotive parts. His story has also inspired countless others, not the least of [whom] is Magic Johnson. After watching [an] ESPN segment [on Parker], the retired NBA star tweeted, "Richie Parker's story proves that you can do anything you set your mind to. We should all stop complaining and giving excuses." Or, as Parker says, "I don't know there's a lot in life ... that I'd say I can't do. Just things I haven't done yet."

Note: Don't miss the most awesome video of Richie at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier
2013-10-30, Daily Good
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:28:58
http://www.dailygood.org/story/578/the-neuroscience-of-why-gratitude-makes-us...

Gratitude ... makes you happier and healthier. If you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you're going to be better off. Does this mean to live in a state of constant denial and put your head in the sand? Of course not. Gratitude works when you're grateful for something real. What are you actually grateful for? It's a question that could change your life. Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages. Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end. With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude). Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day. To practice it further, join thousands of others in a transformative 21-Day Gratitude Challenge starting November 7th leading up to Thanksgiving.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Google searching for new ways to give back
2013-10-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:27:43
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Google-searching-for-new-ways-to-give-back...

Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, made giving back a company priority from the beginning. Their hope was that "someday this institution (under the rubric of 'Google.org') may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world's problems." Google has firmly established itself as a powerful and innovative player on the corporate philanthropy scene. Google's philanthropic entity was initially formed with a pledge of 3 million shares to make grants in several broad areas, including global poverty, disease and renewable energy. In 2009, Google announced a major strategic shift: to not only fund traditional nonprofits through cash grants, but also to concentrate on using Google's strengths in data-driven technologies and information aggregation to address the world's problems - to, in effect, engineer for social benefit. Google gave away $105 million in grants during 2012, plus $1 billion more in product donations, principally productivity apps and advertising grants for nonprofits. The company was the 12th-largest U.S. corporate cash donor in 2011 and 2012, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Between $45 million and $50 million of that 2012 total [was] directed toward disaster relief, university research and community organizations in Silicon Valley - with $23 million dedicated to Google's Global Impact Awards. Last year's Impact Awardees include Charity: Water, which Google granted $5 million to install remote sensors at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. The low-cost sensors will monitor and record actual water flow rate to ensure better maintenance of and access to clean water for more than 1 million people.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Camp Kesem may be 'Cancer Camp,' but most kids want to come back for s'more
2013-06-22, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley, CA's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:26:17
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23499114/camp-kesem-may-be-cancer-camp-but-most

Camp Kesem, which gets its name from the Hebrew word for "magic," is a transformative experience for most of the campers, who spend a week between Woodside and La Honda, amid the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. "A lot of them resist it before they come," said camp director Heather Paul, "and then they get here and find out it's not a cancer camp." Unlike other camps, which often forbid phone calls to and from parents, Camp Kesem has a hotline specifically for that purpose. "For a lot of them, the homesickness can be intense," Paul said, "especially if the parent was recently diagnosed." There had long been camps for children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but until Stanford University's Hillel organization started Camp Kesem 13 years ago, there was almost no place for kids from families stricken with the disease to turn when they needed a break from watching their parents' suffering. "Kesem is a little haven where everyone understands and supports each other," said 15-year-old Juliane Bombosch, of San Bruno, whose mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Juliane this year is attending her fourth Kesem, and among the 120 campers and 75 counselors -- all undergraduate volunteers from Stanford -- are many who keep coming back until they exceed the age limit. There are 37 Kesems nationwide, with another five expected to be available next year, but because cancer is expensive, the camps remain free of charge -- and fundraising is a constant challenge.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A Philadelphia School's Big Bet on Nonviolence
2013-07-18, The Atlantic
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:51:34
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/a-philadelphia-schools-bi...

Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug users and street level prostitution where gun violence rates are off the charts. But rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed the metal detectors and barred windows. The police predicted chaos. But instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year, the number of serious incidents fell by 90%. The school says it wasn't just the humanizing physical makeover of the facility that helped. Memphis Street Academy also credits the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen originally used in prison settings that was later adapted to violent schools. AVP, when tailored to school settings, emphasizes student empowerment, relationship building and anger management over institutional control and surveillance. There are no aggressive security guards in schools using the AVP model; instead they have engagement coaches, who provide support, encouragement, and a sense of safety.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Pet dog Charlie 'can predict toddler's epileptic fit'
2013-10-15, BBC News
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:50:06
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24521541

An Irish family has said their pet dog is helping to protect their three-year-old daughter by warning them when she is about to have an epileptic seizure. The Lynch family, from County Clare, believe their Great Dane, Charlie, can sense changes in their child up to 20 minutes before she has a fit. Brianna Lynch has epilepsy since birth. Her family said Charlie will alert them by walking in circles around Brianna. He also gently pins her against a wall to stop her from falling during a fit. Brianna's condition [can] lead to traumatic seizures, some of which cause her to go into a trance-like state, while others cause violent convulsions during which she is at risk of falling and hitting her head. Brianna's mother, Arabella Scanlan, said Charlie is not a trained "seizure alert dog" but was just a normal, family pet who appears to have developed some kind of special skill through his own instincts. They first noticed it some time ago when the huge Great Dane began to get agitated and walk in circles around Brianna. Minutes later the toddler had an epileptic fit. "Charlie will know about 15 to 20 minutes before she's going into seizure. He'll get ever so panicky and giddy, almost as if you'd think 'this stupid dog is going to knock her over'. But he has never once knocked her over. We kept an eye on this and, sure enough, I went into the yard one day and she (Brianna) was buckled over to the side, on top of him (Charlie). She was actually having a seizure. He stayed with her, he didn't move." Ms Scanlan said that since then, the dog rarely leaves Brianna's side and will gently pin her up against a wall or other surface if he senses she is about to fit. He will guard the child until help arrives.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Piano inspires 17-year-old to invent land-mine detector
2012-04-03, NBC News
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:47:23
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/piano-inspires-17-year-old-invent-land-mine...

17-year-old Marian Bechtel might live in Pennsylvania, where land mines are not a common occurrence, but she has still managed to invent the prototype for a brand-new minesweeper. The device, [with a] cost far lower than current technology, uses sound waves to figure out where the deadly devices are. The combination of sensitive microphones and a seismic vibrator connected to a standard metal detector was tested, successfully, on mock plastic and metal land mines. It was a finalist in the recently concluded 2012 Intel Science Talent Search. The project was inspired by family connections and a lucky flash of inspiration. "My parents are both geologists," she says. "Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines. During the summer before eighth grade, I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say, and wanted to get involved in science and possibly land mine detection. I noticed that when I played certain chords or notes on the piano, the strings on a nearby banjo would resonate," says Bechtel. "I heard this, and it was almost like the story of the apple falling on Newton’s head -- I thought that maybe I could use the same principle to find landmines. So, I began doing research and talking with scientists in humanitarian de-mining and acoustics; three years later I had built a prototype."

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