Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reddit Users Share Stories of Kindness

Who said the internet can't be full of kind people? It may not seem like the norm among all the nasty comments left on forums around cyberspace but popular site Reddit has proven that when given the opportunity, people are happy to discuss kindness as well. Recently a single thread was started asking who had experienced any acts of kindness. The response was overwhelming with well over a thousand comments pouring in. These stories were heartwarming and proof that despite what the media may want you to believe, there's still plenty of kindness out there. Here are a few of our favorites:

For the thread with the whole list of kind acts, please click here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Taiwanese Vegetable Vendor Wins Ramon Magsaysay Awards

Most of our American readers may not have ever heard of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards but they are they Taiwanese version of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to those who go above and beyond to help humanity. This year's winners include Filipino Romulo Davide, who helped farmers fight pest infestation on rice, bananas and other crops; Indian Kulandei Francis, head of a village self-help group; Syeda Rizwana Hasan, an environmental lawyer from Bangladesh; Cambodian agronomist Yang Saing Koma who helps farmers' improve rice production; Indonesian Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto who is fighting to stop illegal logging; and Chen Shu-chu, a Taiwanese vegetable vendor who has donated over 7 million Taiwan dollars ($231,800) to several children's charities.

Chen Shu-chu isn't a rich person, she sleeps on the floor of her small home and her education stopped after the sixth grade, but her donations have helped build a library and provided food and shelter for at risk children as well as families displaced by disasters.

"Money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it," she said. "I feel happy whenever I could help other people."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Motorists in Wales Raise Money for Air Rescue Crew...During Accident

Everyone's been there at some point or another, stuck behind the wheel of a car on a highway jam-packed with other drivers. No one is moving because up ahead there has been a bad accident. For many, the typical reaction is a sigh of frustration or even irritation that this accident happened while they were in a hurry. We often forget that our inconvenience is someone else's very bad day. That fact didn't escape one group of motorists in Wales this weekend when they watched the descent of a Wales Air Ambulance after a bad traffic collision left a young man in critical condition.

While the medical crews worked to save the victim's life, one motorist got out of his car and began collecting money from others around him. He raised a quick £50 during the 15 minutes before the ambulance was ready to take off again. The money was passed into the hands of the air crew, a donation to help continue funding the good work they do. The crew of the ambulance were unfortunately unable to get the name of this incredibly generous person, or the others who donated, but they are immensely grateful.

"This gesture of public support is phenomenal. We were only on scene for a short amount of time, probably under ten minutes.But in that time the motorists on the M4 managed to group together to raise £50 for Wales Air Ambulance.I would like to thank the man who collected the donations and everyone who donated.It is thanks to public support and donations that we are able to provide a lifesaving air ambulance service to the people of Wales," said paramedic Chris Conners.

For more information, click here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Boy With Cerebral Palsy Completes Triathlon With Brother's Help

At only six years old, Cayden Long can neither walk nor talk, but he has managed to complete several triathlons due to the love and dedication of his older brother Conner. Nine year old Conner realized early that his sibling would not be able to get out much or do the kinds of sports other children can do and he was determined to help however he could. He saw advertisements for a children's triathlon near his home and after working with the event coordinator, the brothers were entered into the race. That was last June and the boys have shown no signs of stopping.

This past weekend, the brothers completed yet another triathlon, this one in Cambridge, Mass. They didn't win first place but placing had never been the important part for them. Conner pushed and pulled his younger brother through the entire 2.5 mile course and they completed the race together.

For more on this story, please click here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Woman Buys $10 Painting, Discovers It's Worth $20k

When North Carolina artist Beth Feeback rushed into her local thrift store, she had no idea she would be walking out with a treasure. She had gone in to get a sweater to keep away the chill of a rainy afternoon, but while there she noticed two paintings for $10 each. The abstract artwork wasn't quite her style but she purchased them anyway in hopes of painting over them.

That repaint fortunately never happened because Beth discovered later that one of those paintings was a work called Vertical Diamond by 20th century artist Ilya Bolotowsky. The painting is valued at $20,000. Beth plans to sell the painting at auction and she is greatful for the turn in her luck. She has been unemployeed since 2008 and her unemployment money had long since stopped coming in. Beth had been getting by with dipping into her savings and selling her art, pet portraits, at local craft fairs. The money she will get from the painting will help her get back on her feet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

14 Year Old Boy Wins Award for Providing Shoes to the Homeless

14 year old Nicholas Cranston was recently awarded a Hero Award by the Build-A-Bear organization for his non-profit Gotta Have Sole. Nicholas works hand in hand with local homeless shelters to provide shoes to the children living in less thatn ideal conditions. The shelters provide Nicholas with the sizes the need most and he then purchases the shoes with donations made to his organization. He hand packs them and delivers them to children for whom this may be the first new shoes they've ever received. In the short time since his non-profit was started, Nicholas has raised an astounding $49,000 and purchsed 3,000 pairs of shoes for needy children.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mystery Man Gives Strangers Wads of Cash

People Are Awesome: Mystery Man Gives Strangers Wads of Cash - Lifestyle - GOOD

This is a little bit of a trick post, because it's a double-plus good thing: a mysterious man with a camera gives out money to random people. A lot of money. But in order to receive the money, they have to agree to have their photo taken, and "pay it forward," by doing something good with the money. He asks that they document their good deed and share stories.

Here's a link to the Wearelucky website. You can read the stories and see photos of the people who've participated so far. So cool!

Bonus post!

Here, have a beautiful photo of a rainbow waterfall, taken by Justin Lee, a photographer and student at the University of British Columbia. The photo is from his hike in Yosemite National Park.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Foster Grandparents Aid Children With Learning Issues

The word "grandmother" brings up images of warm homes, fresh baked goods, and a welcome smile for most people so it's little wonder that The Foster Grandparent Program in Northern Nevada is doing so well. The program places volunteer senior citizens in local Title 1 schools where children are more likely to need the extra attention. The foster grandparent then works with the teachers to determine which children are struggling so individual attention can be given.

The program appears to be highly successful with a lot of children showing signs of improvment under the extra care. The seniors help with learning to read, arithmetic, and sometimes, just by being an unjudgemental ear when no one else will listen.

To read more about this incredible program, click here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

CEO Gives Away $3 Million of His Bonus

These days it seems the news is rife with corrupt CEOs for whom money is the only goal but one man is breaking the mold in a big way. CEO Yang Yuanqing of Lenovo was given a $5.2 million bonus for his work with the company. Instead of spending the money on himself, however, he gave $3 million of it right back to the people who work for him. The cash bonuses were handed out to 10,000 junior-level employees including receptionists, line workers, and assistants instead of the managers who make more than them and work less. It is a selfless gesture that means a lot to those who benefitted. It's a nice change we'd like to see more CEOs take to heart.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Amazing 15-Year Old Scientist Improves Pancreatic Cancer Test

Jack Andraka can't vote, and he can't drive. Yet. But what he can do is to invent a cheap, accurate test for pancreatic cancer, which

detects pancreatic cancer 168 times faster than current tests. It’s also 90% accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than today’s methods. 
(Via Fast Company
This is Jack, speaking at TED, a global ideas conference:

(Jack Andraka at TED@NewYork talent search. June 7, 2012. New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash. Via the TED flickr photostream.)

And here's his talk (it's pretty amazing):

He started his research because a friend's brother was killed by pancreatic cancer, and Jack felt that he wanted to do something to help. Not only that, but after he came up with his idea, he contacted research institutions all over the country, hoping for someone who would help develop and implement it.

What an awesome kid.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

South African Children Do Good Deeds to Celebrate Mandela's Birthday

On Wednesday morning, children all over South Africa sang a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela, the first black president of their country. Mandela, now aged 94, is best known for his hard won triumph over racist apartheid rule, an effort which earned him a Nobel Peace prize. His victory came at a heavy price: 27 years of his life in prison. The bars of jail as well as those of discrimination are long behind him though and Africa celebrated the anniversary of his birth with great enthusiasm. The whole of South Africa was caught up in a state of joy and people stopped to greet each other in the streets.

The celebration didn't stop with just songs and words of greeting. People also offered 67 minutes of their time to do some sort of community service. Many of these acts took the form of acts of kindness by the school children who were celebrating. In 2009, the United Nations established Nelson Mandela International Day to honor the African leader on his birthday through acts of community service.

To read more, click here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Procedure Saves Poisoned Dog and May Save People Too

It was a nightmare situation for Helen Abel. Her two-year-old Mini Australian shepherd, Kasey, had eaten death cap mushrooms at an oak grove in Healdsburg during a walk. Mushroom poisoning kills many pets and sadly the prognosis did not look good for Kasey. Godd fortune smiled however, when it was discovered that  Dr. Todd Mitchell at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz was currently in the middle of testing a new drug which could potentially save people with mushroom poisoning. During his tests, he had discovered that while the drug he was working on had a high chance of success, there was also a surgical procedure which might save lives as well.

The procedure involved draining toxic bile from the victim's gallbladder and Kasey seemed to be the perfect test subject to see if this would help. Vetrinarians performed the surgery and sure enough Kasey began getting better and better. She has made a full recovery now and her miraculous survival is a good sign for people suffering the same fate. Dr. Mitchell intends to attempt the same procedure on people in rural areas who suffer from poisoning but for whom the drug he is developing might not be available.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

13 Year Old Recycles Cooking Oil Into Heating Oil For The Needy

Two years ago, at only 11 years old, Cassandra Lin started TGIF: Turning Grease Into Fuel. She saw a need in her local community of Westerly, Rhode Island, and then found an ingenious way to solve it that benefitted not only the needy but the companies providing the cooking grease. She started by convincing her town council to set up a collection area for the grease. Then she convinced the local businesses and even residents to dump their cooking grease into the container, thus sparing a lot of clogged drains and unpleasant runoff. Once collected, the grease is refined and a portion of it goes to local charities to pass out among the needy as heating oil. The rest is turned into biodeisel and sold so that the town and companies still have incentive to donate.

Now, at age 13, Cassandra is collecting enough grease to turnout 30,000 gallons of bioediesel a year. That's $60,000 worth of fuel. Her work has become a formula that caught even the UN's attention and they invited Lin, along with 1400 other inovative children, to the UN Confrence on Sustainable Development. One can only hope that her work is taken to heart and repeated in towns all across America.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dialing the Wrong Number Saves Nova Scotia Woman's Life

When 77 year old Eileen O'Hara found herself in a medical emergency, she dialed the only number she could think of off the top of her head. Instead of reaching her daughter, however, she reached Stephen Dykens who happened to be driving very near to her house at the time. The young man wasn't sure how to respond to the call at first but when Eileen told him she thought she was having a stroke, he immediately leapt into action. He got her address and, upon realizing how close he was to her home, he changed course and headed straight to her house. He and his passenger knocked on the door and then waited with Eileen after calling emergency services. Their quick action and kindness helped save her life.

Eileen was taken to the hospital and treated for bleeding in her brain. She and her daughter and grateful to the men who came to the rescue and for the kindness that prompted them to wait at Eileen's side. To read more, please click here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Knight in Shining Armor Rides Across Canada to Teach Politeness

It's probably the most unusal thing drivers will see when traveling across Canada but Vincent Gabriel Kirouac, 22, has taken on a mission and the stares don't phase him. The Quebec native believes in what he is doing and he's having fun doing it. He has donned a real suit of armor, mounted his trusty steed, and is riding across the entire country, teaching others about politeness and the value of chivalry along the way. Vincent doesn't just like the costume however, he thinks of himself as a real modern day knight in armor. Whether you believe he's right or not, there's something charming about this modern day Don Quixote and his mission to promote integrity, kindness, and politeness. He has had no problems with finding lodging each night either as he simply rides to a nearby farm, knocks on the door, and asks if he can find shelter there. According to Vincent, the repsonse has universally been curiosity followed by welcome.

To read more about this knight and his journey, click here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Man Celebrates 65th Birthday With 65 Acts of Kindness

For most people, birthdays mean receiving things. We get cakes, presents, cards, and lots of well wishes but for one Oklahoma City man, his birthday was marked by giving instead. Doug Eaton asked his friends and family on Facebook how they thought he should celebrate his birthday this year and one of the answers had been that he should do some acts of kindness.

Doug did just that on June 11th this year. He stood out on the side of the road with a very unusual sign. It read "I have a home...and a car...and a job. Do you need a few bucks for some coffee?" Those who stopped were handed $5. The act of kindness ahocked most people and brought smiles to a lot of faces. Doug reported that a lot of the people who stopped weren't interested in the money, they just wanted to thank him or congradulate him on doing something so selfless.

Other kind acts Doug did included leaving massive tips for small services, buying lunch for a few people, and paying bus fare for a father and daughter, among other things. To read more, please click here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dying Man's Last Wish Was To Give Unsuspecting Waitress A Great Tip

When 30 year old Aaron Collins passed away on July 7th, 2012, his dying wish was for his family to pool together to give a $500 tip to a random waitress at a local pizza shop. His family honored that wish by starting a website where they took donations to help come up with the money. They quickly found themselves with the $500 and they headed out to a restaurant called Puccini's where they presented the tip to a very surprised young woman. Aaron never met this waitress, didn't know her name, and none of that mattered. The act was purely one of selflessness and doing something kind for someone.

His family is now collecting for another such surprise and hopes to keep this trend going for years to come. To see a video of the waitress receiving this wonderful surprise, click here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Threads For Teens Gives Clothing To Under Privileged Girls

Anyone who has been to high school knows that being the outcast can often come with the dire consequence of bullying. For teens living in foster care or in group homes, this is often made worse because they cannot afford to dress the same as their peers. One California teen is trying to change that. Allyson Ahlstrom, 16, of Santa Rosa, California, started Threads For Teens, a non-profit organization whose goal is to help out struggling girls by outfitting them with the same brands their fellow students are wearing.

Allyson collects donations from companies for new clothing and accesories. She then sets them up in her "boutique" and schedules appointments with social workers to allow girls from foster homes to come shop. The price tags are blank and Allyson makes a point of putting out clothing that will fit the teen she's meeting with. It's a lot like playing pretend but the benefits are very real. The girls who come to shop at Threads For Teens get a self-esteem boost from being allowed to come pick out their own clothing the same way their peers would in regular stores. Most walk out with a couple of tops, a couple of bottoms, a dress, a purse, and some accessories but all of them walk out feeling a little less like an outcast.

Allyson recently won the Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes girls aged 14-17 for their work in bettering their communities.

To read more about Allyson, please click here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Act of Kindness Allows Disabled Man to See Concert

Two unnamed men are being hailed as heroes in Overland Park, Kansas for their selfless act of kindness during a country music concert held at the Oak Park Mall. During the concert, they noticed Cheryl Connelly and her daughter struggling to hold up their disabled son, Patrick Connelly. The singer on stage was Blake Shelton, Patrick's hero, but the young man could not see him because he was confined to his wheelchair. His family stuggled to hold him up so he could see the show but they soon faltered under the heat. That's when two men stepped in to help out. The held Patrick aloft for over 20 minutes while Blake sang and when they became too fatigued to continue, they worked their way down through the crowd, wheeling Patrick with them all the way to the stage.

Because of their kind act, Patrick not only got to see his hero, he was also allowed to go back stage and meet the singer face to face. Cheryl Connelly was so moved by the kindness of the men she met that she placed a story with the local news to thank them. She never learned their names but she will not soon forget their selflessness.

Read more here.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Nicest Place on the Internet

Sometimes you just need a hug.

Be sure to visit http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/ for the full experience (it's really lovely).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Irvine Teen Gives The Gift Of Sight To Those Less Fortunate

For most 15 year olds, a typical afternoon revolves around hanging out with friends, video games, or tv but one Irvine teen has taken his free time and put it to an amazing use. Yash Gupta is the founder of Sight Learning and is one of the newest recipients of the Huggable Heros awards given out by the Build-A-Bear Workshop. In 2011, this incredible young man took it upon himself to begin collecting eyeware for those less fortunate and in only a year, he has collected over $70,000 in glasses. He spends 25 hours a week at least just setting up collection points at local optometrists, collecting the glasses left there, and redistributing them to the needy.

Gupta has even hosted two international clinics, one in Tiauna, Mexica and the other in Copan, Honduras, where he assisted over 5,000 people by providing them with much needed eyeware.

To read more, please click here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Man Who Saved Over 600 Kids from Nazis Gets a Touching Surprise

50 years after Sir Nicholas Winton saved the lives of 669 children held in Nazi death camps, the children (now all grown up), got a chance to thank him, in person, on live TV.

He's very stoic, but... wait... does he have something in his eye? A bit of dust, perhaps. (You'll probably have something in your eye when you watch, too.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scientists Teach Baby Beluga Whale How To Bottlefeed

Photos courtesy of Mercury News.

For the first time ever, a baby beluga whale has been rescued in US waters and brought back to an aquarium for care. The little whale is only two days old and was found in South Naknek, a part of Alaska's Bristol Bay. Previous rescue attempts had not been successful with most calves passing away before they could be transported to a care facility. The only previous rescue attempt that had shown any success ended with the rescuers returning the baby whale back to its pod but in this case, there was no sign of the mother to be found.

The little male calf was transported 90 minutes to the Alaska SeaLife Center where scientists around the world have been flocking in an attempt to help. Currently, he is being fed via a stomach tube but there is hope that he will learn to feed from the bottle being offered to him. There is a long road ahead for this baby but scientists are hopeful that someday he'll grow to his full size of around 15 feet long.

For more information and additional photos, click here. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Flowers Replace Rifles at a Unique Encounter Between Arab and Jewish Veterans

‘Humanity hasn’t yet found the way to avoid war, but when you meet the soldier who fought against you, you realize he’s just a person and you ask yourself, “What were we doing killing each other?”'

On June 18 and 19 of this year, 20 veterans, mostly-high ranking Jordanian and Israeli retired officers, met in Jerusalem and toured the sites of battles that pitted them against each other nearly half a century ago during the Six Day War. “We once looked at each other through the barrels of guns,” said one man. “Now we shook hands and exchanged war stories.”

The meeting was organized by the Israeli Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF) and Jordan’s Amman Center for Peace and Development (ACPD), and funded by the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 

To read more about this amazing encouter, please visit here.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Four Teens Return A Man's Wallet...And His Hope.

When 18 year old Chance Cleveland discovered his wallet was missing, he was understandably upset. Even more so because it had contained his recently cashed paycheck which was supposed to be used for rent. Fortune smiled on the young man, however, when the police knocked on the back door of the ColdStone Creamery where he worked and handed the wallet back without a single penny missing. His heroes? Four young teens, Alison Taylor, 13, Korey Thompson, 14, Kaylee Olson, 14 and Sean Morris, 14, who had found his wallet by some traintracks he'd crossed on his way to work. The $700 in cash that the wallet contained was certainly tempting but Kaylee Olson summed it up best when she said "We decided if we'd lost our wallet, we would want somebody to return it."

Cleveland later found out the identity of these good Samaritans and showed his appreciation the best way he knew how; he gave them all free ice cream.

Original story posted here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dog's Life Is Saved After Tearful Goodbye Spurs A Vet Into Action

When Kayla, the beloved family dog of the Martinez family, slipped on concrete and fell on a spike, her family was left in dire straights. They could not afford the kind of vet bills it would have taken to save the dog's life and after all their home remedies failed, they knew they couldn't leave her in suffering. The family did what they felt was best and took Kayla to their vetrinarian to be euthanized.

Ten days later, they received a call from the SPCA asking them to come back. When they arrived, it was for the shock of a lifetime. The pet they had been grieving was alive and well. The staff at the vetrinary clinic had been moved by the tearful goodbyes of the Martinez family and they completed the life saving surgery for free. Kayla is now reunited with the family whose love was enough to save her.

You can read more here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

8 Year Old Climbs Kilimanjaro To Help Cure Duchenne

An amazing 8 year old boy named Tyler Armstrong is the second youngest person to ever climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The Los Angeles native made this incredible journey with one purpose in mind: he wanted to raise money to help cure Duchenne, a type of Muscular Dystrophy. In an act of selflessness, Tyler set out on this quest after meeting another young boy suffering from the illness. He has already climbed California's Mount Whitney last year, setting a record for being the youngest person to ever do so and he doesn't have plans to stop any time soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

$30 Million Gift For The Homeless Of Vancouver

For 56 homeless people living on the streets of Vancouver, a miracle has happened. Taylor Manor, a lovely 1915 Tudor style mansion, will soon become a new refuge for them where they can seek treatment for long term mental illnesses which keep them in poverty. The home had once been used for long term care but had shut down in 2000. Now a $30 million dollar donation by a wealthy elderly couple in Vancouver is allowing the city to reopen the doors of Taylor Manor in its attempts to combat homelessness. The house is undergoing renovations and is planned to be open in the next two years. For more information on this story, please go here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where the Hell is Matt?

By now, the crazy videos that Matt Harding posted in 2005 and 2006 have become Internet legend. For those not familiar with the Where the Hell is Matt series, here's the gist: Matt, a young, travel-hungry fellow, goes around the world to amazing places and dances like a fool in each one, filming his journey.

Here's the first:

And then he made another, 10x better than the first.

(This is the one that most everybody has seen, and was financed by Stride Gum.)

And then he kept making them. Apparently somewhere there in the meantime he found out that the music used in the first two was illegally sampled, and spent time finding the originator, and doing great things to help the singer's family.

And he keeps making these little dancing films. He doesn't dance particularly well, but that's not really the point. He's bringing people together, and spreading joy wherever he takes his dancing and his camera.

From 2008:

And then the one that just came out a few days ago:

Ethan Zuckerman (whose blog is a great read, if you've got some spare time) just did a post on Matt and his journey - When the World is Your Dance Teacher - which contains much more information and links to all of Matt's films, plus a post on what Matt did for the family of the man who sang the lullaby in the first two little films.

(These are good videos to save someplace for when you're feeling down in the dumps, because they're an instant antidote to disillusionment and depression, at least for a little while!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Operation Sing!

Over the weekend, the Chicago based group calling themselves Sigma Rho Nu went downtown and completed "Operation SING". SING stands for Sigma’s Initiative of Nifty Gallantry (which I think is quite nifty indeed) and the act itself was to pass out 43 pieces of candy to every person who walked by. The goal? Just to make those 43 people smile. Watch the video below to see these local Chicago sweethearts!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Unemployed Hero Lands A New Job

It's not every day that a baby leads directly to a new job but for one heroic New Yorker, that's exactly what happened. Delroy Simmonds, 30, was standing on the platform of a NY subway waiting for the train that would take him to a job interview when the unexpected happened. A gust of wind had blown baby David Zamara right out of his mother's care and onto the train tracks. Without any hesitation, Delroy leapt down and lifted the baby to safety while the train screeched to a halt.

While this act of heroism did cost him the interview he had hoped to go to that day, it also gained him a great number of other job offers once the story got out of what he'd done. 

Read more here