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.
Anger is best viewed as a tool that helps us read and respond to upsetting social situations. Feeling angry increases optimism, creativity, [and] effective performance. Research suggests that expressing anger can lead to more successful negotiations, in life or on the job. In fact, repressing anger can actually hurt you. Dr. Ernest Harburg and his team at the University of Michigan School of Public Health spent several decades tracking the same adults in a longitudinal study of anger. They found that men and women who hid the anger they felt in response to an unjust attack subsequently found themselves more likely to get bronchitis and heart attacks, and were more likely to die earlier than peers who let their anger be known when other people were annoying. When anger arises, we feel called upon to prevent or terminate immediate threats to our welfare, or to the well-being of those we care about. Altruism is often born from anger; when it comes to mobilizing other people and creating support for a cause, no emotion is stronger. It’s a mistake to presume that kindness, compassion, love, and fairness line up on one side of a continuum, and anger, rage, and dislike, on another side. Positivity alone is insufficient to the task of helping us navigate social interactions and relationships. A healthy society is not an anger-free society. The expression of authentic anger can be entirely appropriate with certain people in certain situations. The question is how you do that without letting it go too far.
Note: Read the entire article to learn simple, healthy anger management tricks. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
This month more than 300 LED lights were illuminated by the Dutch company Plant-e in a new energy project called “Starry Sky.” Although the bulbs were ordinary, the electricity running through them derived from a new process that harnesses the power of living plants. “Starry Sky” and a similar project an hour’s drive away, near Plant-e’s Wageningen headquarters, are the two first commercial installations of the company’s emerging technology ... fueled by the byproducts of living plants. Plant-e’s co-founder and CEO, Marjolein Helder, believes that this technology could be revolutionary. For decades, middle schoolers have been engineering clocks made from potatoes, which run on a similar principle. Plant-e’s technology is the first to produce electricity from plants without damaging them. Both projects that lit up the Netherlands this month involved native aquatic plants that were supplied by local greenhouses. The process involves plants growing in modules—two-square-foot plastic containers connected to other modules—where they undergo the process of photosynthesis and convert sunlight, air, and water into sugars. The plants use some of the sugars to grow, but they also discharge a lot of it back into the soil as waste. As the waste breaks down, it releases protons and electrons. Plant-e conducts electricity by placing electrodes into the soil.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Three years ago, Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, became a “flipped school” — one where students watch teachers’ lectures at home and do what we’d otherwise call “homework” in class. Teachers record video lessons, which students watch on their smartphones, home computers or at lunch in the school’s tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates. In the fall of 2011, Clintondale flipped completely — every grade, every class. “On average we approximated a 30 percent failure rate,” said Green. “With flipping, it dropped to under 10 percent.” Graduation rates rose dramatically, and are now over 90 percent. College attendance went from 63 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2012. Flipping also changes the distribution of teacher time. In a traditional class, the teacher engages with the students who ask questions — but it’s those who don’t ask who tend to need the most attention. The biggest effect of flipping classrooms is on the students at the bottom. “It’s tough to fail a flipped class, because you’re doing the stuff in here,” said Rob Dameron, the head of the English department. “I used to have about a 30 percent failure rate in English. Now, out of 130 kids, I have three who are failing — mostly due to attendance problems.” Flipped classrooms require more creativity and energy from the teacher. “Lots of teachers who aren’t really good teachers are resistant to this — they like to build time into the day when kids are working to do their taxes or catch up on email.”.
Tucked behind the women’s residence halls in a back corner of Huston-Tillotson University’s campus in Austin, Texas, sits a green dumpster. Were it not for the sliding pitched roof and weather station perched on top, a reasonable person might dismiss the box as “just another dumpster”—providing this person did not encounter the dean of the University College Jeff Wilson living inside. Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally. Not long ago, Wilson was nesting in a 2,500 square foot house. Now he says almost everything he owns is in his 36-square-foot dumpster, which is sanctioned and supported by the university as part of an ongoing sustainability-focused experiment called The Dumpster Project. “We could end up with a house under $10,000 that could be placed anywhere in the world,” Wilson said at the launch, “[fueled by] sunlight and surface water, and people could have a pretty good life.” Wilson, known around town as Professor Dumpster, recounted in another recent interview that he now owns four pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of shoes, three hats, and “eight or nine” bow ties. He keeps all of this in cubbies under a recently installed false floor.
Note: The article above includes many amazing photos of Wilson's unconventional home. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
These 16 individuals under 20 have all invented solutions that have somehow eluded those who can legally drink. Many of these kids were inspired by simple necessity. Others were driven by compassion. Some of them were just doing science fair projects. Eesha Khare: This 18-year-old from Saratoga, California, was still in high school when she invented a battery that can be charged in 20 seconds. It also lasts 10 times as long as a standard battery. Ryan Patterson: The inability to communicate with most hearing people makes life difficult for deaf persons. Knowing this, Colorado-born Ryan invented a glove that translates sign language. It’s simply a golf glove that uses sensors, a radio frequency transmitter, and a microcontroller to interpret hand movements. He was 17. Why didn’t anyone else think of this? Raquel Redshirt: Growing up in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation, Raquel experienced poverty so extreme that her family and neighbors often couldn’t afford electricity, making it near impossible to cook anything. So at 16, she discovered a way to make solar-powered ovens using the simple materials collected around the area. Working with old tires, aluminum foil, shredded paper, and dirt, she made these usually expensive ovens for the people in her community. Have you built any ovens for your neighbors lately?
Note: Why aren't some of these inventions being hailed and promoted widely in the media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Obama administration has formally endorsed provisions of an international treaty banning torture and cruel treatment of prisoners held by the United States. In a statement Wednesday to a U.N. treaty-monitoring committee in Geneva, Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski said, “We believe that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions.” State Department legal adviser Mary E. McLeod affirmed to the committee that the definition covers all areas under U.S. jurisdiction and territory. McLeod also reaffirmed that no statement made by a person as a result of torture is admissible in any legal proceeding. The ... issue is likely to reemerge in the United States with the release of a lengthy summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s classified report on the detention and interrogation program that was put in place following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The release has been held up in a dispute between the committee majority and the CIA over portions of the report the intelligence agency believes should remain secret. In her remarks to the committee, McLeod said that “in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values. As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tom Attwater is dying of a brain tumor, but he isn’t worried about his cancer. Instead, he is trying to save his 5 year-old daughter from her own. He has vowed to raise approximately $820,200.00 for her cancer treatment, even if he wouldn’t be around to see her go through it. Now Tom is almost half way to his fundraising target. Tragically his deadline is short as his latest scans show his brain tumour is growing. He says: “These days people make bucket lists, and the very top of mine – the one that matters most – is raising money to make sure Kelli gets the medical help she might need." Tom is dedicated to leaving a legacy behind for her, as well as this touching letter: Darling Kelli, I’m so sorry I will not get to see you grow up as I so want to. Please don’t blame people or the world for this. A lot of life is simply luck and mine is running out. I wish I had the words to make you feel better. I wish I didn’t have cancer and you didn’t have to see me in pain as you often do now. I wish so many things were different but they are not. Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don’t have that time. But while your old dad is still around I thought I’d try to give you some life advice.
Note: Read the all of Tom Attwater's inspiring letter to his daughter in the article above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Alternatives to Violence Project is a conflict-resolution workshop for inmates with a history of violent behavior at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. It is a program started by the Quakers in 1975 and still has strong Quaker involvement from meetings around the county. Each month the program conducts workshops at the prison for some of the most violent offenders in the New York State prison system. "Quakers have been involved in prison ministry for a long time because the founders like George Fox were incarcerated for civil disobedience," said Fred Feucht, 65, a Quaker from the Purchase Meeting and an outside coordinator for the project at the prison. Although the program is steeped in the nonviolent beliefs of the Quakers, most of the volunteers are not Quakers and believe that people need to learn conflict-resolution skills to avoid violence. "We grew out of the Quakers but we reached outside for most of our leaders," Mr. Feucht said. "A lot of our inside leaders are Muslims." Inside, leaders are inmates who have completed the ... workshops and now work as volunteers to conduct and administer the program. Volunteers in the project advocate that violence is the basic cause for people being incarcerated. Many remain involved with the program outside prison, and a group of former project facilitators formed a support group called the Landing Strip. With tougher sentencing laws today, repeat violent offenders may never be freed. For many graduates of the program, it is seen as a last chance.
U.S. violent crimes including murders fell 4.4 percent in 2013 to their lowest number since the 1970s, continuing a decades-long downturn, the FBI said on Monday. The law enforcement agency's annual Crime in the United States report showed the country had an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes last year, the lowest number since 1.09 million were recorded in 1978. All types of violent crimes were lower, with murder and non-negligent manslaughter off 4.4 percent to 14,196, the lowest figure since 1968. Rape was down 6.3 percent and robbery fell 2.8 percent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation data showed. The violent crime rate last year was 367.9 for each 100,000 in population, down 5.1 percent from 2012. The rate has fallen every year since at least 1994, the earliest year for readily accessible FBI data, and the 2013 figure was about half the 1994 rate. Property crimes fell 4.1 percent ... the 11th straight yearly decline. In an analysis, the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts said the drop in crime coincided with a decline in the prison population, with the number of U.S. prisoners down 6 percent in 2013 from its peak in 2008. Thirty-two of the 50 states have seen a drop in crime rates as the rate of imprisonment fell, Pew said. California notched the largest drop in imprisonment rate over the five-year period, at 15 percent, and crime was down 11 percent. The state has been under court order to reduce prison overcrowding, and voters last week approved an initiative that reduced sentences for some crimes.
Note: Why isn't this inspiring news being broadcast widely by the media? And why hasn't the FBI website updated their data on this since 2010? The police and media appear to consistently downplay the huge drop in violent crime since 1994. According to the FBI's own statistics, violent crime has currently dropped to 1/3 or less what it was in 1994. See the revealing FBI graphs and charts here, here, and here. Yet some of these charts have now been removed and mention of this huge decrease downplayed. The obvious reason is that a large decrease in crime might cause people to want to decrease police and FBI budgets. More here.
More than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began planting seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in India's Assam region. It was 1979 and floods had washed a great number of snakes onto the sandbar. When Payeng -- then only 16 -- found them, they had all died. "The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms," Payeng told the Times Of India. "It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. There was nobody to help me," he told the newspaper. Now that once-barren sandbar is a sprawling 1,360 acre forest, home to several thousands of varieties of trees and an astounding diversity of wildlife -- including birds, deer, apes, rhino, elephants and even tigers. The forest, aptly called the "Molai woods" after its creator's nickname, was single-handedly planted and cultivated by one man -- Payeng, who is now 47. Today, Payeng still lives in the forest. He shares a small hut with his wife and three children. According to the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia, it is perhaps the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river. "We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar," Saikia told the Times Of India. "[Locals] wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng ... treats the trees and animals like his own children. Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in," Saikia said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In 1959, Alva Earley ... attended a picnic at Lake Storey Park. Earley, who is black, went to the picnic with a group of friends. The group, which included other black and Hispanic people, decided to eat at a whites-only area of the park, despite having been told by a school counselor that doing so would result in serious repercussions. "We were just trying to send a message that we are people, too," Earley told NPR. "We just had lunch." After the gathering, Earley was notified by his school that he would not be allowed to graduate, nor would he receive his diploma. Last Friday, Earley, now 73, finally received that diploma. Though more than 50 years late, the graduation was made possible by a few of Earley's former high school classmates. Though the ceremony was a happy one, Earley says that he had been harboring pain over the incident. "The fact that I could not get a cap and gown on and march down the aisle with my classmates -- it meant the world to me. It hurt so bad," he told NPR. Because he was unable to receive a diploma, two colleges that had already accepted him withdrew their offers. He went to Knox College after a classmate persuaded his father and then-president of Knox College to allow Earley to enroll. Now, his other classmates are happy. "When people have been mistreated, we owe it to them to address the injustice," [said] former classmate Lowell Peterson. "This is just a little chance to make something right."
If you've ever volunteered in a soup kitchen, you know the feeling of having served others. But what about those on the other side of the food line? Are they getting what they need most? Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, didn't think so. He set out to train homeless people on the streets of Washington, D.C. — many of whom were drug addicts cycling in and out of a life of crime — how to cook and earn a food handler's license. The goal was to help them trade addiction and crime for stable employment in restaurants and other food enterprises. Egger's kitchen got its start turning surplus and donated food into meals that are provided to homeless shelters and other nonprofits. Later, DC Central Kitchen opened an arm that operates much like a private company, selling high-quality meals to schools and 60 corner stores in low-income neighborhoods of the city. Today ... it delivers 5,000 meals each day to local nonprofit organizations and another 5,000 meals to schools. It operates a culinary job-training program that trains 80 people each year, and gets many of its supplies from small, local farms. Sixty percent of its funding is revenue that it earns from sales. "This idea of everyone side by side — it's a powerful image," says Egger. "The president of the United States, someone from the shelter, a kid from Wilson High School — we're Washingtonians, side by side. This is the power of community!"
Note: The DC Kitchen model has been adopted by organizations around the country, and inspired The Campus Kitchens Project, where students help recover food that might be wasted and prepare meals for people in need in their communities.
An activist group (is) buying and cancelling other people's student debts. Rolling Jubilee has purchased and abolished $3.8m (Ł2.35m) of debt owed by 2,700 students. Debts can be bought and sold in the financial marketplace. But student debt, which has spiralled to an estimated $1.2 trillion (Ł619bn), is not usually as available to buy as other debts. In this speculative secondary market, third parties buy debt for a fraction of its original cost. These debt campaigners are buying debts and then writing them off. Laura Hanna at Rolling Jubilee says, "We wanted to question the morality around repayment. Your debts are on sale. They are just not on sale to you." Ms Hanna says ... the way that selling education as a commodity reinforces inequality. The group is hoping to show students that if they work together, they can renegotiate their debt. Student debt can pursue people all through their working lives and into retirement. Officials giving evidence to a US Senate committee said this could mean that student debt repayments could be deducted from retired people's social security benefits. John Aspray, national field director at the United States Student Association (USSA), said recent changes in law mean people in medical or gambling debt can declare themselves bankrupt - but to do so for student debt ... is very difficult. "Opportunities for renegotiating are very well hidden."
Note: Rolling Jubilee's website has a counter where you can see how many millions of dollars in burdensome debt have been eliminated by their inspiring strategy.
Neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander was convinced out-of-body experiences were hallucinations — until he went into a coma himself and had what he now believes was a glimpse of heaven. Dr Alexander, who has taught at Harvard Medical School, reveals many others have also seen what he described. Dr. Alexander: A near-death experience will change your life in more ways than one. It means you have survived a serious illness or a major accident, for one thing. But the aftermath ... can be even more significant. For me, it was as if my old world was dead and I had been reborn into a new one. Coping with that is hard: how do you replace your old vision of the universe? Many people are going through similar versions of what I went through, and the stories I have heard from other near-death experience witnesses give me courage every day. They are a constant corroboration of everything that was revealed to me — how we are loved and cherished much more than we can imagine, how we have nothing to fear and nothing to reproach ourselves for. If you have never seen yourself as a spiritual person, and perhaps did not even believe in God, this new dimension to your understanding has an even greater impact. One of the most extraordinary things about my own glimpse of heaven was that, back in this world, no one was aware of the transformation that I was undergoing. All the monitors and sensors and computers could detect no activity: my brain was flat-lining. New knowledge like this changes us for ever. We evolve into someone fresh.
Robyn Petgrave, founder of Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM), is using aeronautics to get at-risk youth in Compton off the streets and into the air -- educating, inspiring and empowering them to soar high and reach their dreams. Starting at age eight, kids who stay out of trouble, get good grades and have positive attitudes earn the privilege to fly planes. "I talked to the kids about staying away from drugs and gangs, communicating, using aviation as a real life application of math and science, and working hard in school and life. As I noticed that some of them listened and followed through, I realized that I wanted to help kids succeed using aviation as a magnet to keep kids off the streets for a living," Petgrave said. The kids were drawn to TAM because of the planes, but it's clear that they're just a vehicle that gets the kids in the door and cockpit. Petgrave says there's a tremendous amount of responsibility when you fly a plane, life skills that can be transferred from the air and to the streets. High five to Robyn and his crew for taking these amazing kids under his wing and catapulting them past the sky's limit. What a great way to use his power and fueling the dreams of these bright kids and challenging them to soar to new heights.
It is sheer panic in the woman's voice on the cell phone video as the flames shot out of the windows of the wood frame home: "There's a man in there!" The next sound on the video is a loud explosion. "We gotta get the dad," screams the woman. The explosion forced two men who were trying to reach the trapped man away from the home. Seconds later, a man in a blue Los Angeles Dodgers cap jogs out with a 73-year-old man slung over his shoulder. "I didn't see him," says Beth Lederach, the woman who recorded the dramatic weekend fire and rescue on her cell phone. In the seconds before the explosion ... you can see the man in the blue cap calmly walk towards the burning home, flames nearing 20 feet high. "He calmly walks in there, calmly. Then here he comes, carrying the dad," recalls Lederach. Then he vanished. For 48 hours, the Fresno fire department and local reporters hunted for the mysterious hero. Who was he? Why would he dive into a burning home, save a man and then not stay long enough for even a simple "thank you"? It appeared the man would never be found. But in this age, social media has a way of making sure all secrets are uncovered. Tom Artiaga groaned as the reporters starting banging on his door. "I didn't want the glory," he says sheepishly, wearing the same blue Dodgers cap. "We have to help each other out. We kill each other. We fight. We gotta help each other out. I don't feel like a hero. If it was someone else, I'd help them, too."
One of the most glaring oversights in the field of development is the lack of attention to clothing. Countless organizations work on food, energy, education, health care, economic opportunity — but beyond disaster relief efforts, you hear little about the need for clothes. In India, this makes no sense. In 1998, the Guptas started an organization, Goonj (meaning “echo”), to redistribute (clothing) where it was most needed. They wanted to find a way to address the problem systematically — to craft a permanent, rather than an episodic response, to what they considered a non-natural, perpetual disaster. Goonj has found a way to assist villagers that moves beyond the stigma of charity. The model is grounded in the Indian concepts ... advocated by Gandhi and his disciple Vinoba Bhave. “The whole chain is full of respectful links. Not many supply chains are full of respect.” Today, Goonj operates collection centers in nine Indian cities and provides about two million pounds of materials, mostly clothes, but also utensils, school supplies, footwear, toys and many other items. It will assist about a half a million people in 21 states this year. Goonj also takes pains to see that its materials actually reach the intended recipients. They carefully vet N.G.O. partners and do follow-up visits. If that is impossible, they require that photographs be taken to show the distribution of goods. Gupta said. “It’s a tough game to deal with local police and government officials and tax officers. But we have a zero bribe policy.”
What started as a routine traffic stop on Saturday turned out to be a life-saving moment for one Michigan woman. At the time the unidentified driver was pulled over, she was choking. And the officer who stopped her saved her life in a scene caught on his dashcam, which you can see [on the webpage at the link] above. "For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress, so I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back," Officer Jason Gates said at a press conference, according to MLive.com. "When that didn't work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine-year police career and it worked," he said. With three hard abdominal thrusts, Gates dislodged a piece of sausage and bun, WOODTV reported. When she could breathe again, the grateful driver cried and hugged the officer. He did not give her a ticket. "Most of the times, traffic stops are a negative for people, but it's something we have to do," Gates was quoted as saying. "It does keep people safe, not only in slowing people down and keeping traffic safe, but in rare instances like this.
Nobody should die from diseases we know how to treat. Currently in all areas of the world over 50,000 people die daily from diseases we can treat. One component of getting good care in very poor places is to have the human capacity and training to deliver good care. Two UCSF Physicians have started a project called the HEAL initiative that aims to address health workforce in resource poor communities. HEAL initiative works at sites domestically and internationally, from Navajo Nation in New Mexico to Liberia and Haiti and India to both improve the quality of care, support and train local health professionals. The work that is about health care but is also beyond health care. It is about solidarity and justice. A simple home visit can shape the way anyone thinks about health. The community health workers sit with patients and discuss what ails them on many levels. When someone can't pay for medicines or health care, what other costs may be suffocating their budget? On arrival to the house, the family structure is revealed, how many people are staying under one roof, what material makes up that roof, straw or tin or concrete? Does the patient own his/her own land? Are there crops rising up from the soil or is the land barren? On one home visit we came across this grandmother (who) inspired this poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity. To witness this solidarity and movement towards health as a human right is to witness something precious becoming conferred as a right.
Note: The moving poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity is included in the complete article summarized above. Learn more about HEAL from this initiative's website.
A southern Alberta city got a little brighter today after hundreds of neon Post-it notes with inspiring hand-written messages started popping up at homes, shops and offices in Airdrie. The movement was started by a local high school student trying to fight off a bully. Caitlin Prater-Haacke had been sent a message on Facebook telling her to kill herself. Instead of replying to the message, Prater-Haacke took out a marker and some small pads of paper. She decided to fight back by posting positive messages on every locker in her school. "Little simple messages like, 'You're beautiful' [and] 'You shine bright like a diamond,'" she said. But officials at George McDougall High School didn't like the idea and told her it was littering, which didn't sit well with the community. City council then declared Oct. 9 as Positive Post-it Day. "What's come out of it is 100 times better," said Prater-Haacke, adding she can't believe the support she has received. The school is now filled with the sticky notes, and this time the school says the colourful messages can stay. But it wasn't just among students, as other Airdrie residents also embraced the movement. "I think it put a smile on everyone's face this morning and I think it gave them that little bit of extra oomph for the morning to get them going," said resident David Jones. The campaign has taken off online.