Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are 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.
Bullying is a serious problem. According to Family First Aid, nearly 30 percent of teens in the U.S. are estimated to be in school bullying, whether they're being bullied or doing the bullying. Josh Yandt, who lives in London, Ontario, was no exception. After being bullied for years, he decided to make one simple tweak when he transferred schools: He started opening doors for his classmates. "Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act, it’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors gives people hope that people care.” Holding the door for his classmates changed everything for Yandt, and now he has more friends than he can count. “People just love what I do. Every day people always say ‘thank you,’ people smile, and it’s really great,” he told Canada's CBC news as classmates clapped him on the back, said thanks, or gave a hello as they passed by in the hallway. The story doesn't end there. Yandt was crowned prom king, and he's taken on speaking engagements, sharing his story with younger students.
Note: Watch a video of Yandt's inspiring story, and see for yourself how a small change in his habits invited Yandt's peers to open up and treat him with kindness and respect.
At the pinnacle of a dizzying career, Indian-American rapper Nimesh “Nimo” Patel was haunted by an unshakeable sense of emptiness. In his mid-twenties, he abandoned the limelight and found himself meditating. An inner voice nudged him to radically simplify his life and find his purpose in service to others. He moved to the Gandhi Ashram in India and dedicated himself to the children in the surrounding slums. Seven years into his musical hiatus, something inside nudged Nimo to begin writing music again, but this time in a different spirit. Inspired by a global 21-Day Kindness Challenge, Nimo wrote and produced Being Kind. Together with a labor-of-love crew of volunteers, he co-created a zero-budget music video in one week as an offering of gratitude for the 5.9K participants across 98 countries who simultaneously committed to doing a unique act of kindness every day for 21 days in the spirit of “being the change” they wish to see in the world. A month and a half later, he did it again with Grateful, a musical offering inspired by the 11.5K participants and their small acts throughout the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge. Nimo has most recently embarked on a pilgrimage to bridge music, love and selfless service, through Empty Hands Music. As 14-year-old [Empty Hands volunteer] Priyanka puts it, “We are so, so busy behind getting money, behind getting power, that we forget why we are here. But that joy of spreading kindness, of spreading gratitude, is something that we will keep in our mind and heart until the time we die.”
Note: Watch the inspiring music video by Nimo titled "Keep Loving: A Universal Love Song."
Sometimes people laugh when Zac Bookman tells them what his company, OpenGov does. Not out of mockery. Out of disbelief that a website — or, really, anything — can make it easier to track how the government spends trillions of dollars of their tax money. Users [of OpenGov] can easily share what they find with friends — or push back on government officials to question their spending. Still, Bookman hears doubters. Cynicism runs deep, especially when it involves government becoming more transparent. Bookman ... understands their skepticism. People have lost faith in government officials to improve their lives. “People don’t think of (government) as an industry, but it is,” said Bookman, whom Ronnie Lott nominated for the first Chronicle and St. Mary’s College Visionary of the Year award. “Our software allows you to see where the money goes.” $7 trillion in public dollars ... flows through federal, state and local government entities, from big cities to mosquito abatement districts. Much of it is hidden in plain sight, virtually inaccessible to the public because of user-unfriendly tech interfaces. But now more than 250 government organizations are using [OpenGov], including the city of Los Angeles. There is a bipartisan appeal to this sort of transparency. Conservatives like it because it helps to highlight where to cut government fat, while liberals buy into it because this sort of tool can quantify the value of government services. OpenGov is attempting to ... make this very complex data usable by people who are not financial experts.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Thousands of Croats will see their debts written-off on Monday as part of an attempt to boost the economy by helping households to regain access to basic facilities including bank accounts. The scheme, which has been dubbed "fresh start", will see the debts of around 60,000 citizens erased by banks, telecoms and utilities operators as part of a deal with the government. Around 2.1bn kuna (Ł20m) worth of bad debts are expected to be written off by creditors who have signed up to the scheme. None will be refunded for their losses. Qualifying households must have debts lower than 35,000 kuna (Ł3,500), and their monthly income should not be higher than 1,250 kuna. Croats who own property or have any savings will not benefit from the deal. "Some 60,000 citizens ... will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt," said Milanka Opacic, Croatia's deputy prime minister. The program will give 20pc of the 317,000 Croatians whose accounts were frozen in July last year due to bad debts access to their accounts again. "This is the first time that any (Croatian) government tries to solve this difficult problem and we are proud of it," Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told a cabinet session. The deal will be noted in Greece, where the new Syriza government is trying to renegotiate the terms of its multi billion euro bail-out.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis' charity office said. The Vatican announced last year that it would provide shower facilities in St Peter's Square for homeless people. Bishop Konrad Krajewski told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Thursday that it would also offer haircuts and shaves when the services start on Feb. 16 in an area under the colonnade of the square. Krajewski, whose official title is the pope's almoner, said barbers and hairdressers would volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy. They had already donated chairs, hair-cutting instruments, and mirrors, the newspaper's website said. Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that while it was relatively easy to find places to eat at Rome charities, it was difficult to find places to wash. He immediately received the pope's backing for the shower project and then expanded it to include haircuts and shaves.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. Nebraska ... has embraced the complete socialization of energy distribution. The Nebraska Power Association proudly proclaims, “Our electric prices do not include a profit. That means Nebraska’s utilities can focus exclusively on keeping electric rates low and customer service high. Our customers, not big investors in New York and Chicago, own Nebraska’s utilities.” Nebraska has a long history of publicly owned power systems. However, in the post-World War I era, large corporate electric holding companies backed by Wall Street banks entered the market and began taking over. Tired of abusive corporate practices, in 1930 residents and advocates of publicly owned utilities took a revenue bond financing proposal straight to the voters, bypassing the corporate-influenced legislature which had previously failed to pass similar legislation. It was approved overwhelmingly. By 1949, Nebraska had solidified its status as the first and only all-public power state. Nebraska’s nearly 100-year-old experience with a completely public and community-owned electricity system demonstrates that ... the principles of subsidiarity and local control can, in fact, be preserved through a networked mix of publicly owned institutions at various scales without sacrificing efficiency or service quality.
Narayanan Krishnan was a bright, young, award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. But a quick family visit home [to the south Indian city of Madurai] before heading to Europe changed everything. "I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food," Krishnan said. "After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime." Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny. "That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame -- to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves." Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2003. Now 29, he has served more than 1.2 million meals -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- to India's homeless and destitute, mostly elderly people abandoned by their families and often abused. The hot meals he delivers are simple, tasty vegetarian fare he personally prepares, packs and often hand-feeds to nearly 400 clients each day. The group's operations cost about $327 a day, but sponsored donations only cover 22 days a month. Krishnan subsidizes the shortfall with $88 he receives in monthly rent from a home his grandfather gave him. Krishnan sleeps in Akshaya's modest kitchen with his few co-workers.
By Tanzanian standards, Nosim Noah is not poor. A tall, handsome woman with the angular features of her fellow Masai tribe members, Ms. Noah makes a good living selling women’s and children’s clothes. But despite their relative prosperity, up until late 2013, the family had no electricity. Now, however, [they have power because] a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa – and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn’t to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable installments and not rely on government help. The concept is called pay-as-you-go solar. When [Noah] and her late husband moved into their house in 2004, they paid about a $200 connection fee to TANESCO, the Tanzanian national utility, to extend a power line to their home. After a six-month wait, workers finally erected a utility pole outside their home. But the power never came. “I have no idea why it didn’t work,” Noah says. “All I know is that the lights never came on.” They have power now, though, with the help of the sun.
You might have heard probiotic bacteria help keep your gut healthy, but could they be good for your brain, too? A study out this week suggests the answer is yes, at least for mice, because mice on a probiotic diet for a couple of weeks were more relaxed than their counterparts who were not. They showed fewer visible signs of anxiety, lower levels of stress hormones, even chemical changes in the brain. Sounds a little like valium, doesn't it? Other than signals telling you when you're hungry or full, what connection is there between the intestinal tract and the brain? And why would it be there? It's been long known that the brain and the gut communicate. What's becoming clearer over the last while is that this brain-gut communication [is] bidirectional, [and that the microbial] flora within the gut can actually also play an important part in regulating this. So we can now describe what we call the microbial gut-brain axis, and this is coming across in a whole variety of studies in [many new and] different ways. We've known for a long time that if you're feeling sick, or you've got a bad bacteria, like a food poisoning, the [vagus] nerve will signal to the brain to allow you express the sickness behavior. So it's kind of like the good side of what we've already known. We were able to get such a pronounced effect, and similar effects as if the animals had been given some pharmaceutical agents that are used to treat anxiety and depression.
Note: The above is a summary of an NPR interview with John Cryan, discussing findings published in PNAS by his research team. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Parkinson’s [is] a movement disorder that causes tremors, stiffness and balance problems. A 2008 meta-analysis found that placebos used in clinical trials of Parkinson’s treatments improved symptoms by an average of 16%. [A] team from the University of Cincinnati ... had a hunch that patients would be more responsive to a fake drug they thought was real if it came with a heftier price tag. So they recruited 12 patients with “moderately advanced” Parkinson’s and asked them to participate in a clinical trial. The study volunteers were told that there were two versions of the experimental drug and that both were believed to work equally well, [but] one version cost 15 times more than the other. In reality, both placebos were composed of the exact same saline solution. And yet, the patients perceived the expensive version to be more effective than the cheaper one, according to results published Wednesday in the journal Neurology. Both of the placebos improved motor function compared with a base line test. But when patients got the $1,500-per-dose placebo, their improvement was 9% greater than when they got the $100-per-dose placebo, the researchers reported. In another test, 67% of the patients were judged “very good” or having “marked improvement” after they took the expensive placebo, compared with 58% of patients after they took the purportedly cheap placebo.
Note: Even 58% experiencing "marked improvement" on the cheaper placebo is quite impressive! Why aren't more studies being done on the amazing and powerful affects of the placebo? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
At Seeds of Peace, we bring kids from conflict zones together to learn to see each other and their differences in a new light. Now, our first generation of alumni are emerging as leaders. Case studies of conflict areas, including Northern Ireland and South Africa, have shown that progress toward peace does not typically result from one action or initiative; rather it is many activities on many levels that ultimately bring about change. In each case, strong leaders working across sectors have helped take incremental steps toward change even during the most difficult times. Our 5,061 graduates are positioned to play just that role. A team of our graduates in Pakistan and India has set out to change the way that people living in conflict learn history. During their Seeds of Peace dialogue encounters, they realized that they were being taught wildly different versions of the same shared historical events. This inspired them to create a textbook that, for the first time, juxtaposes their countriesâ€™ competing historical narratives. They have since led workshops for more than 600 Indian and Pakistani students, and their online curriculum has received more than 1 million views. Young leaders like these directly link what they do in their personal and professional lives to their experiences with Seeds of Peace: engaging with the â€śOther,â€ť recognizing their leadership potential, and gaining a commitment to peace at a young age.
Note: The complete article above contains several inspiring stories about Seeds of Peace's incredible programs.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using [a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing] to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges. The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them â€śadoptedâ€ť by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. It allowed police ... to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of adopted seizures. Since 2001, about 7,600 of the nationâ€™s 18,000 police departments and task forces have participated in Equitable Sharing. For hundreds of police departments and sheriffâ€™s offices, the seizure proceeds accounted for 20 percent or more of their annual budgets in recent years. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security paid private firms millions to train local and state officers in the techniques of an aggressive brand of policing [that] emphasized the importance of targeting cash. Most of the money and property taken under Equitable Sharing since 2008 â€” $3 billion out of $5.3 billion â€” was not seized in collaboration with federal authorities. The Treasury Department is also changing its asset forfeiture program to follow the same guideline included in Holderâ€™s order, the statement said.
Note: While civil asset forfeiture may remain common in some U.S. states, Holder's announcement means that police can no longer pad their departmental budgets with this federal program. A Washington Post investigation and an Institute for Justice Study were instrumental in exposing this program's corrupting influence.
A local cafe [in Oakland, CA] serves up cappuccinos, teas and lattes alongside a variety of pastry delights. And there in this comfortable and sprawling space filled with armchairs and rugs are the cats. There are all sorts of cats â€” orange, black, gray, shorthairs, longhairs, big and small. And what they all have in common is that theyâ€™re available for adoption. The Cat Town Cafe is the first permanent cat cafe to open in the United States. Patrons ... adopted 32 cats in [the first] 15 days. Other cities are following suit. Temporary, pop-up cat cafes have appeared in Los Angeles and New York, and efforts are under way to establish permanent businesses in San Francisco, San Diego and Denver. Cat Town has become so popular so quickly that reservations are required just to get in the door on weekends. [Co-founder Ann] Dunn, a former volunteer at the Oakland Animal Shelter, ran a private cat rescue operation for three years before starting the business. During that time, she saved more than 650 cats, she said. All the animals at the cafe are brought from the cityâ€™s animal shelter â€” and for them, itâ€™s a second chance at life. Dunn and Myatt started the cafe as a way to save more cats because a trip to the animal shelter to adopt a pet can be a downright depressing experience. The cat cafe has created an instant buzz among Bay Area cat lovers. â€śWeâ€™re creating a cat community, and itâ€™s exciting to watch it unfold.â€ť
What's more adorable than a puppy? A life-saving puppy, of course. That's especially true of the pup named Kyrachaan, who rescued Karina Chikitova, a 3-year-old girl from northeast Russia's Sakha Republic. Thanks to her dog, Chikitova is recovering safely after spending 11 days in the Siberian wilderness. Kyrachaan, meaning "little one," was with Chikitova when she got lost and is believed to have cuddled with the girl at night to keep her warm. After nine days, the dog went in search of help. The Siberian Times reports that the young girl ended up in the remote area after wandering away from home in search of her father, who had left for a nearby village. As a result, her mother -- believing Karina to have gone with her father -- didn't realize the girl was lost in the woods. Karina survived on wild berries and river water and seems to have escaped any run-ins with the bears and wolves inhabiting the area. According to the Toronto Sun, the girl "looked surprisingly well" when rescuers showed up, having followed the puppy to her hiding spot in a large tuft of grass. The girl was taken to a hospital to recover.
The Empowerment Plan began in 2010 as an idea to fulfill Veronika Scott’s assignment for her product-design class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. “We had to design something that could actually happen,” Scott, 22, of Detroit said. Scott’s product was a coat that transformed into a sleeping bag for the homeless population of Detroit. The latest design ... can be rolled up and turned into a shoulder bag for the warmer months. After her class ended, Scott [continued to work] with the homeless at the shelter Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit to develop the first prototype. Scott said the coat was initially meant to offer comfort and pride for the homeless, but one homeless woman’s words changed that. “She said, ‘Your coats don’t matter, jobs matter. We need jobs, not coats,’” Scott said. “It was then about who I could employ.” The Empowerment Plan [now] employs 13 former and current homeless people to manufacture its coats, [and] only hires homeless single parents without a violent crime record. Employees are paid well above the minimum wage in Michigan and are given microloans. The coats are not only ordered by nonprofit organizations for free distribution to the homeless, but are also used by the Red Cross for disaster relief. With the help of donations ... the Empowerment Plan plans to create 4,000 coats this year. Scott said that she wants the Empowerment Plan to be a model for U.S. humane manufacturing.
Note: Don't miss the inspiring three-minute video of this courageous woman which shows how one person can make a big change.
Life -- indeed, survival -- was always difficult for 8-year-old Justus Uwayesu. During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, Justus' father was executed for being born into a family whose identity cards had the Tutsi box arbitrarily checked. His mother vanished shortly thereafter. By the time Justus was 8, he [was living] in the garbage dump for Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. One Sunday ... a taxi [rattled down the dusty road] transporting Clare Effiong, a visitor from the U.S. She was on a mission, "letting the Spirit lead" in a way that causes many to feel very uncomfortable and even suspicious. Through an interpreter Clare ... asked little Justus [what he wanted]. He said, "I want to go to school." Clare drove Justus to a friend's home in Gikondo and told him, "Educate this boy and I will send money to pay for school fees, school materials, uniform, shoes -- whatever." From his first day of school, Justus' most distinctive attribute has been (and remains) his ever-present conviction that it is a precious privilege to learn. Justus obsessively studied, [and received] guidance in applying to colleges and universities in the United States. On [college admissions] "decision day," at 11 PM Rwandan time (5 PM EST), Justus ... fumbled and struggled at first to get into the secure admissions site. Then the letter began to load, and Justus read the first word: "CONGRATULATIONS!" Justus screamed with joy and fell to the floor. When he composed himself, he borrowed my phone to call Clare in the U.S. "Mom, MOM!" he yelled. "I'm going to Harvard!"
The holidays are a time which put a lot of people in the spirit of giving and helping others, and one YouTube video, which is currently trending on social media, encompasses just that. In the video, uploaded by an organization called Memory Bridge, the selfless and caring spirit of one woman is displayed as she forms a very personal interaction using gospel music with someone who has longed for that connection while in the late and deteriorating stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. According to her biography, Naomi Feil, the founder of Validation Therapy and someone who has worked with the elderly for over 40 years, has long believed traditional methods of working with severely disoriented elderly people needed to change. That belief led her to write several books on the subject, and develop alternative therapies.
Note: What a beautiful way to connect with those who have late stage Alzheimers disease. Don't miss this most touching video with a beautiful surprise at the end.
Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable". Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection. Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems. It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases. The researchers say fasting "flips a regenerative switch" which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system. Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy. "While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital. "More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”
In a recent experiment, a person in India said “hola” and “ciao” to three other people in France. Today, the Web, smartphones and international calling might make that not seem like an impressive feat, but it was. The greetings were not spoken, typed or texted. The communication in question happened between the brains of a set of study subjects, marking one of the first instances of brain-to-brain communication on record. The team, whose members come from Barcelona-based research institute Starlab, French firm Axilum Robotics and Harvard Medical School, published its findings earlier this month in the journal PLOS One. Study co-author Alvaro Pascual-Leone ... hopes this and forthcoming research in the field will one day provide a new communication pathway for patients who might not be able to speak. “We want to improve the ways people can communicate in the face of limitations — those who might not be able to speak or have sensory impairments,” he says. “Can we work around those limitations and communicate with another person or a computer?” Pascual-Leone’s experiment was successful — the correspondents neither spoke, nor typed, nor even looked at one another. But he freely concedes that the test was more a proof of concept than anything else, and the technique still has a long way to go. Brain-to-brain communication could find applications across many disciplines. At the same time, Pascual-Leone cautions that scientists must also keep in mind the ethics of telepathy.
The Doe Fund’s 400 fulltime employees (some 70% of them graduates of the program) operate four programs to help homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals achieve permanent self-sufficiency. Ready, Willing & Able does this through a 9-to-12-month transitional work program. The second program is an intensive non-residential work and education program for recent parolees, and the third a veterans program which offers homeless vets transitional work and housing, counseling and benefits advocacy, life skills, educational assistance, occupational training, job readiness, and graduate services. The fourth program is built around affordable housing for low-income individuals and families as well as supportive housing for individuals and families who face a variety of complex challenges. The Doe Fund has succeeded in offering less fortunate citizens of the world we all share a path to self-respect. Nazerine Griffin was an armed robber, stealing for his drug habit. He came to RWA from a homeless shelter. "We were a bunch of warehoused human beings with no way out," he says. He’s now the director of the Fund’s Harlem Center for Opportunity.