Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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What is happiness inequality? It’s the psychological parallel to income inequality: how much individuals in a society differ in their self-reported happiness levels. Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has championed the idea that happiness is a better measure of human welfare than standard indicators like wealth, education, health, or good government. And if that’s the case, it has implications for our conversations about equality, privilege, and fairness in the world. We know that income inequality can be detrimental to happiness: According to a 2011 study, for example, the American population as a whole was less happy over the past several decades in years with greater inequality. The authors of a companion study to the World Happiness Report ... found that countries with greater inequality of well-being also tend to have lower average well-being, even after controlling for factors like GDP per capita, life expectancy, and individuals’ reports of social support and freedom to make decisions. In other words, the more happiness equality a country has, the happier it tends to be as a whole. On an individual level, the same link exists; in fact, individuals’ happiness levels were more closely tied to the level of happiness equality in their country than to its income equality. Happiness equality was also a stronger predictor of social trust than income equality - and social trust, a belief in the integrity of other people and institutions, is crucial to personal and societal well-being.
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Dr. Jim Withers used to dress like a homeless person. On purpose. Two to three nights a week, he rubbed dirt in his hair and muddied up his jeans and shirt before walking the dark streets of Pittsburgh. Withers wanted to connect with those who had been excluded from his care. "I was actually really shocked how ill people were on the street," he said. "Young, old, people with mental illness, runaway kids, women (who) fled domestic violence, veterans. And they all have their own story." Homelessness costs the medical system a lot of money. Individuals often end up in emergency rooms, and stay there longer, because their illnesses go untreated and can lead to complications. For 23 years, Withers has been treating the homeless - under bridges, in alleys and along riverbanks. "We realized that ... we could make 'house calls,'" he said. It's something that Withers' father, a rural doctor, often did. Withers' one-man mission became a citywide program called Operation Safety Net. Since 1992, the group has reached more than 10,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 of them transition into housing. In addition to street rounds, the program has a mobile van, drop-in centers and a primary health clinic, all where the homeless can access medical care. In the way I'd like to see things, every person who is still on the streets will have medical care that comes directly to them and says, "You matter." Having street medicine in [the] community transforms us. We begin to see that we're all in this together.
Note: Don't miss the video of Withers' inspiring "street medicine" in action at the CNN link above.
A 31-year-old man was handed a job, instead of being handed over to the police, after he was busted stealing food from a Tesco supermarket in Malaysia. The father of three, who asked to remain anonymous, had fallen on hard times. He quit his contract job to take care of his young kids after his wife went into a coma during childbirth, local newspaper The Star reported. The man, who’s also mourning the death of the couple’s baby, had moved with his kids into a relative’s house due to his lack of income. One afternoon, after he and his 2-year-old son went to visit his wife at the hospital, they passed a Tesco. “After walking for more than an hour, we went to the food section and I grabbed the pears, apples and a few bottles of drinks,” he told The Star. The price of the items equalled 27 Malaysian ringgit (about $6.50). The man was caught on his way out. Initially, the store’s general manager, Radzuan Ma’asan, was going to call the authorities. But after an interrogation, he was so moved by the man’s story, he offered him a job instead - and some cash. “The man’s situation really touched our hearts. We visited his relative’s house. It was so empty and poor,” Ma’asan told The Star. Tesco was recently in the news for another charitable act. The supermarket giant announced last week that all its U.K. stores will donate its unsold food to charity.
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General Mills said Friday that it will start labeling its products that contain genetically modified ingredients in response to a law going into effect in Vermont later this year. The maker of Cheerios, Yoplait and Betty Crocker joins Campbell Soup as one of the few major consumer product companies to adopt labeling amid a contentious debate in Congress about whether identifying GMOs - genetically modified organisms - should be voluntary. In a blog post, General Mills argued for a national standard for GMO labeling but said that in the meantime, the company will start labeling certain products that contain GMOs. The decision comes as ... food producers prepare to comply with a Vermont law that will require GMOs to be identified starting July 1. General Mills said that it's more cost effective to adopt the practice across the country in order to keep prices from rising for customers. The labels will start hitting grocery stores over the next several weeks and customers can expect thousands of packages to be updated with new language. General Mills also launched a tool that lets customers search for products that contain GMOs, which includes Betty Crocker frosting, Chex cereal and Nature Valley bars. The fight over GMO labeling has been fraught with the question of whether GMOs are safe to consume. Genetically engineered foods, like corn and soybeans, have been part of the U.S. food supply since the 1990s.
Note: Other major companies are also saying they will start labelling GM foods in the US, as reported in this article in the UK's Guardian. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When David Lee Windecher comes to court, he cuts a striking figure. Once known as “Red,” a notorious North Miami gangster, Windecher has come a long way. The drug dealer and larcenist who had been arrested 13 times by his 20th birthday ... has morphed into one of Atlanta’s hottest young lawyers. Only four years into his law career, [he] uses his own gripping memoir – “The American Dream: HisStory in the Making” – to give troubled kids a road map to putting their adolescent mistakes in the rearview mirror. His message: Too many Americans – prosecutors, citizens, and even gangsters themselves – buy into a myth that youths are a lost cause. Those sentiments were cemented into law in the 1980s and ’90s. “Second chances come hard,” he says. “The problem is that everyone, even the gangsters, looks at the worst, not the potential in other people. But the fact is, you are not a victim of circumstance. You have a choice.” It took watching his brother and two sisters turning to gang life, finding faith in a higher power, and meeting an aspiring FBI agent ... for Windecher to see that there was a way out. He was also shaken by a poem titled “The Monument,” about how God gives each person a unique set of problems to resolve. It says, “no one else may have the blessings that these problems will bring you.” In 2011, Windecher secured an internship with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, [where] in the juvenile division ... he began to strengthen the county’s diversion programs aimed at keeping first-time offenders out of long-term detention.
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From an environmental perspective, plastic cutlery is pretty disastrous. It's often used just once before being thrown in the bin, and every year vast quantities of plastic knives, forks and spoons end up in landfill, where they release harmful substances into the soil as they decompose. However, one enterprising inventor is now hoping to make plastic cutlery obsolete by providing a viable, environmentally-friendly alternative: edible cutlery. Narayana Peesapaty is from India, where 120 billion pieces of disposable plastic cutlery are thrown away each year. His edible cutlery, branded as Bakeys, is made from millet, rice and wheat, and is available in a variety of flavours. Bakeys, founded in Hyderabad in 2011, says its products are "highly nutritious," with a shelf life of three years. If you use a Bakeys spoon and don't eat it, it'll decompose in less than a week. A video showcasing Narayana's invention has gone viral this week after it was shared online by the website The Better India, where it's been viewed more than 2.5 million times in less than a day. It isn't quite as sturdy as its metal or plastic counterparts - Bakeys suggests not using too much force if you use its cutlery to cut into hard foods, saying: "after all these are made of flours" - but its spoons are firm enough to get you through a cup of hot soup without it wilting. But could they ever become popular enough to replace plastic cutlery the world over? We'll have to wait and see.
When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard about a gay man receiving a hate-filled Valentine, he sent him a moving message of support. Degas Sikorski, a man from Edmonton, Canada, was working for Party City but had not received a shift in months. When he went into work on Valentine’s Day, he noticed his supervisor had made personalized gifts for everyone on staff. When Sikorski looked at his, the openly gay employee noticed ... something nasty: "FA**** YOU ARE NOT GETTING SHIFTS FOR A REASON," was written in black marker on Sikorski's Valentine. Furious, Sikorski's mother, Shelley, posted a picture of the slur on Facebook. A manager at a local Starbucks saw the post and offered Sikorski a job, so that he could quit Party City. Sikorski accepted. Yet, a new job wasn’t the only love Sikorski received thanks to his mother’s post. Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault eventually saw it as well. He is also openly gay and felt compelled to show his support. "I texted my team ‘Please find a very nice Valentine’s card and bring it to the House,’" Boissonnault told Global News. Boissonnault signed the belated Valentine and got other members of parliament to sign it as well. Trudeau also wrote an inspiring message: “Dear Degas, Know that your friends outnumber the haters by the millions and I’m one of those friends.” A picture of Trudeau signing the card was included in a belated Valentine for Sikorski, which was hand-delivered to him last Saturday by Boissonnault himself.
Note: Don't miss the video of this moving story at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A Palestinian woman who grew up as a refugee and who now teaches refugee children has been awarded with a $1million (Ł707,000) global prize for reaching excellence. Hanan al-Hroub, who teaches primary school children in the West Bank city of al-Bireh, just outside of Ramallah, was handed the second annual Global Teacher Prize which recognises an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession. The Pope announced Ms al-Hroub – who teaches about non-violence - as the winner in a video message while Prince William also sent his congratulations. "I feel amazing and I still can't believe that the Pope said my name," al-Hroub told The Associated Press. "For an Arab, Palestinian teacher to talk to the world today and to reach the highest peak in teaching could be an example for teachers around the world." In her acceptance speech, Ms al-Hroub repeated her mantra of “No to violence” and spoke of the importance of having dialogue. She said: “I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage,” the BBC reported, and has promised to spend the prize money on creating scholarships for students who excel to encourage them to become teachers. Ms al-Hroub grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem. She went into teaching after her children witnessed a shooting on her way home from school, which made her think about how teachers can help children who experience trauma. She educates children about non-violence and has written a book called “We Play and Learn,” which focusses on the importance of playing, trust, respect, honesty and literacy.
For the roughly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, daily life is often violent, degrading, and hopeless. But what if our approach to those behind bars were constructive, rather than destructive? Four-legged companions ... share living quarters with Fulton County Jail inmates as part of the Canine CellMates program in Atlanta. Believing all inmates have a capacity for good is what inspired [Susan Jacobs-Meadows] to found the program at the jail 2 1/2 years ago. More than 100 inmates have participated, and Jacobs-Meadows says it is extremely rare for an inmate to reoffend after completing the program. Since 2009, inmates at Washington’s Stafford Creek Corrections Center ... have planted more than 1.5 million flowers as environmental stewards in the Sustainability in Prisons Project’s Prairie Conservation Nursery Program, [which] also offers the potential for college credit. Solitary confinement at Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institution used to mean a concrete cell, no bigger than a parking stall. Prisoners spent about 23 hours a day there. [This] often provoked aggressive behavior from prisoners. So guards tried an experiment: Send inmates back to nature or, more accurately, bring nature to them. The Blue Room, implemented in April 2013, immerses inmates in nature for an hour by playing videos of arid deserts, lush forests, and open oceans as they sit in a chair alone, imagining roaming the wide open spaces before them. The room ... has been credited with a reduction in reported incidents of violence.
Note: Read more on these and other creative programs bringing hope and useful skills to prisoners at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Ever since a 71-year-old Brazilian man rescued a struggling penguin, he's been receiving regular visits from his feathered friend. Joao Pereira de Souza, a retired bricklayer, lives ... just off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. In 2011, he spotted a starving Magellanic penguin drenched in oil on the beach near his house. Naming the penguin Dindim, Pereira de Souza fed him every day until he was strong enough to leave, according to a video from the University of Rio de Janeiro. But the penguin refused to go. Pereira de Souza decided to row a boat out into the water and drop Dindim off to encourage him to swim home. But when he rowed back to shore, he found the penguin waiting for him. "He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared," Pereira de Souza told TV Globo, a Brazilian TV network. Magellanic penguins regularly swim thousands of kilometres a year to breeding spots on the coast of Argentina and Chile. From time to time, penguins show up in warmer Brazilian waters. Many of Pereira de Souza's friends thought that when Dindim finally left, that was it for the human-bird friendship. But a few months later, Dindim returned and found Pereira de Souza. He visits for about four months, a ritual kept for the last five years. "He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February, and every year he becomes more affectionate," Pereira de Souza told TV Globo. De Souza appears to be the only person who can get near Dindim. If others try, he pecks them or waddles away.
Springing up on the edge of the Sahara desert are rows of curved mirrors as far as the eye can see. They're part of what could become the biggest solar power plant in the world. Morocco is investing about $2.6 billion on the construction of the Ouarzazate complex, which forms the heart of a $9 billion strategy to harness one of the country's greatest natural resources - sunshine. When completed in 2017, it will cover an area nine times the size of New York's Central Park and generate enough electricity to power about one million households. Morocco has been developing solar and other sources of renewable power for years. It has just set itself the ambitious target of meeting just over half the nation's electricity needs from renewable power by 2030. Morocco is using solar technology that operates very differently from traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The Ouarzazate complex uses large curved "mirrors" that track the sun like flowers and channel radiation to generate steam inside a network of tubes. The steam drives a central turbine that generates electricity, which flows into the national grid for use by Moroccan homes and businesses. Perhaps most impressive is that the complex can continue to operate after the sun sets. Heat from the system can be stored for hours in tanks filled with molten salts. That allows steam to be generated for hours and keep turning the turbine at night.
Yuval Roth woke at the crack of dawn to drive his large, white van from his home on Israel’s Mediterranean coast to Checkpoint 300, the main passageway leading from Palestiniancontrolled Bethlehem to Israeli-controlled Jerusalem. Over the past decade, Roth has made it his daily business to transport Palestinians needing medical treatment from army checkpoints to Israeli hospitals. “These encounters break down barriers,” Roth says. “Everything the Palestinians knew about us, and everything we knew about them, simply disintegrates.” [In 1993] Roth’s brother, Ehud, was kidnapped [and killed] by a Hamas cell in the Gaza Strip. Roth decided to mobilize his pain in the cause of education. He joined ... a nonprofit group comprising bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families. He began sharing his personal story with Israeli high school students, alongside a Palestinian counterpart. In late 2005, a Palestinian member of the group asked Roth for a favor: Could Roth drive his sick brother from a checkpoint on the Palestinian-occupied West Bank to Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel. Soon, another Palestinian approached Roth, requesting a ride ... for a Palestinian seeking a bone marrow transplant. “Things began to snowball,” Roth says. “I sent out a call for help online, and that’s how a group of volunteers started to form.” In late 2009, [a $10,000] donation forced Roth to register The Road to Recovery as a nonprofit group. Today it has some 400 active Israeli volunteers.
In the mid 1970s, psychologist Merrill Elias began tracking the cognitive abilities of more than a thousand people. The goal: to observe the relationship between people's blood pressure and brain performance. There was never an inkling that his research would lead to any sort of discovery about chocolate. And yet, 40 years later, it seems to have done just that. The questionnaire gathered all sorts of information about the dietary habits of the participants, [which] revealed an interesting pattern. "We found that people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively," said Elias. "It's significant - it touches a number of cognitive domains." The findings ... come largely thanks to the interest of Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher. What's going on? Crichton can't say with absolute certainty. Nor can Elias, who says he expected to observe the opposite effect - that chocolate, given its sugar content, would be correlated with stunted rather than enhanced cognitive abilities. But they have a few ideas. Nutrients called cocoa flavanols, which are found naturally in cocoa, and thus chocolate, seem to have a positive effect on people's brains. Chocolate, like both coffee and tea, also has methylxanthines, plant-produced compounds that enhance various bodily functions. A lot of previous research has shown that there are, or at least could be, immediate cognitive benefits from eating chocolate. But rarely, if ever, have researchers been able to observe the impact of habitual chocolate eating on the brain.
Komal Ahmad was a UC Berkeley undergrad when she encountered a homeless man begging for food. Something compelled her to stop and invite him for lunch. He scarfed up the food. In between bites, he told her his story: He’d just returned from a second tour of duty in Iraq but hadn’t yet received his benefits. He had been evicted, had no money and hadn’t eaten in three days. Right across the street was the Berkeley dining hall, which she knew threw out thousands of pounds of food. “This is dumb; we can fix this,” she recalls thinking. Five years later, Ahmad, 26, is leading Copia, a company seeking to apply a Silicon Valley playbook to food recovery - retrieving surplus food for donation to nonprofits feeding the hungry. The problem is vast. About 35 million tons of food are wasted in the United States every year ... even while 1 in 6 people go hungry. Hundreds of local groups nationwide, largely run by volunteers, already pick up surplus food to feed the needy. In San Francisco, nonprofit Food Runners has been active for almost 30 years and has spawned similar efforts on the Peninsula and and elsewhere. Supporting the local efforts, Congress passed a Good Samaritan Food Donation law in 1996 to protect food donors from liability if products given in good faith cause harm. Copia is refining its approach in the Bay Area, picking up leftovers from tech companies, Super Bowl parties, Stanford Hospital and others for same-day delivery to nonprofits.
Shortly after they got married six years ago, Tommy's wife Renee just started hanging out with the livestock. Tommy warned her ... "Renee, don't name those cows." But she didn't listen. Then she started singing to them, too. And before long, the rancher's wife had turned into a rancher's worst nightmare - a vegan, who couldn't stomach so much as living with a cattle rancher anymore. "He was just going to get out of the business or our marriage was going to be over," Renee explained. Tommy agreed. "It wasn't working. And I said, 'I'm going to sell the whole herd.' She goes, 'Well, if you're going to sell the whole herd anyway, why don't you just sell 'em to me?' What Tommy didn't know was that Renee had been secretly posting a blog called "Vegan Journal of a Rancher's Wife." She attracted thousands of followers. Through those contacts, Renee was able to raise $30,000 - enough for a hostile takeover. And here's where this story gets good. After his wife raised the money, Tommy did something rare for a rancher, or any man for that matter - he put aside his ego and reconsidered a core belief. He stopped eating meat, liked how he felt, and now works for his wife and the Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary. As best we can tell, it's the only cattle ranch conversion in the country. So now that he's changed for Renee, is there anything Tommy would change about his wife? "I can't think of a thing," he said. And there is everything you need to know, to stay married forever.
Note: Watch the touching video of this at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Just two days after Norma’s husband of 67 years passed away, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Doctors gave her the options of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. She decided she would forgo any treatment, telling the doctors, “I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road.” Norma’s son, Tim, and daughter-in-law, Ramie, are full-time RVers. Since Norma couldn’t live at home alone without her husband, they invited her to join them on the road. Six months later, the three of them, along with their poodle Ringo, are enjoying the trip of a lifetime. Ramie, who spoke for the family, said that Norma is a set of fresh eyes on this indefinite road trip. “She’s very quiet and humble, and then she has this streak of adventure that surprises us.” Adventure is right. After leaving Northern Michigan in August, their first big stop was Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. From there, they traveled to Yellowstone National Park and then onto the Rocky Mountains. All the while, they've been documenting their adventure on the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page. Norma’s favorite activity was riding in a hot air balloon in Florida, a Christmas gift from Tim and Ramie. Ramie told ABC News that Norma is feeling better than ever. “She continues to surprise us on this trip," she said. "She’s getting healthier, I think, from eating well and being outside a lot. She’s breathing fresh air and getting to see new things all the time. The trio hopes that Norma’s story will help other families to start conversations about end-of-life plans.
Federal officials are preparing to enforce an 86-year-old ban on importing goods made by children or slaves under new provisions of a law signed by President Barack Obama. "This law slams shut an unconscionable and archaic loophole that forced America to accept products made by children or slave labor," said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who worked on the legislation. The Tariff Act of 1930, which gave Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize shipments where forced labor was suspected and block further imports, was last used in 2000, and has been used only 39 times all together largely because of two words: "consumptive demand" - if there was not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand, imports were allowed regardless of how they were produced. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act signed by Obama on Wednesday eliminated that language, allowing stiffer enforcement. To start an investigation, Customs needs to receive a petition from anyone - a business, an agency, even a non-citizen - showing "reasonably but not conclusively" that imports were made at least in part with forced labor. A Labor Department list of more than 350 goods produced by child labor or forced labor provides a detailed breakdown that human rights groups plan to use as they petition the government to take action.
A section of the Mic Mac Mall was transformed into a bright anti-bullying statement Wednesday, as the Pink Shirt Promise anti-bullying campaign officially kicked off. The campaign will go for the next eight days, ending just in time for national Pink Shirt day, which was started in Nova Scotia eight years ago by Travis Price. Wearing pink has become an international symbol for the Anti-Bullying Movement. “It was a simple act of kindness, one act, just stand up for him. Show him that he wasn’t alone,” Price said at the opening for the campaign. The boy he’s referring to is a fellow student who wore a pink shirt to school on the first day of classes. He was teased and bullied for wearing the shirt. After seeing the bullying, Price decided to stand up and take action, encouraging other students to wear pink shirts in support of their fellow student and as a way to stand up to bullies. “We didn’t know at the time that Pink Shirt Day would turn into the movement that it has today. It was simply to try and show this student that he wasn’t alone. Now, this simple act of kindness has grown into something that simply blows my mind, that I can say is now in over 27 countries around the world,” [said Price]. The idea behind Pink Shirt Promise is simple: by making a personal pledge to end bullying and spread positivity, you could change someone’s life. Price says it only takes a few seconds for a bystander to intervene.
Note: Watch a great five-minute video on the origins of this inspiring movement.
Komal Ahmad ... is the founder and CEO of Copia, an online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need. While an undergraduate ... Ahmad was walking down the street when she was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money to buy food. Instead of giving him a few bucks, Ahmad decided to take him out to lunch and discovered that he was an Iraq war veteran. “That hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said, noting that she’d just gotten back from summer training for the U.S. Navy. “It was almost like a glimpse of my future. This was a perfectly educated guy, came from a good family. He was just a person who was down on his luck.” Across the street from where Ahmad and the man had eaten lunch, the university’s cafeteria was throwing out thousands of pounds of leftover food. Right then, the dual problems of hunger and food waste struck her. “Those who have and are wasting and those who need and are starving - and they’re both living quite literally right across the street from each other,” she said. “That’s just ridiculous.” Ahmad launched Feeding Forward, a local service that began ... in 2011 and has since grown into the tech startup Copia, which has now distributed some 600,000 pounds of food to 720,000 people in need. As Copia expands, Ahmad said that she hopes her phone app will set the stage for new platforms that can redistribute a wider array of necessities, like medicine and medical supplies.
What started as a small gesture, of feeding underprivileged children, by 31-year-old Darshan and his friends has turned into a full-blown movement. An email he shot off to a restaurant, after being deeply disappointed with the service he got there, just changed the course of Darshan’s life. When the restaurant management apologised for the poor service and offered to give him free food, Darshan refused the offer and asked them to feed underprivileged children instead. The restaurant went ahead with his suggestion, and after feeding the children, sent pictures to Darshan. “This is the moment that changed me forever. The smile on the faces of those children left me touched. And that is when I decided to do something about it,” he says. Thus, the BhookMitao campaign was born. On June 7, 2015, Darshan and his friends went and fed a couple of children in a slum in Vadodara, Gujarat. Today, the BhookMitao movement provides nutritious lunch to as many as 1,200 children in Vadodara. As the volunteer network grows, Darshan has divided it into groups. Each group takes up a particular spot in the city. They coordinate with those who want to donate, procure the raw materials, and cook the meals in their own kitchens. The programme usually begins ... with some fun activities for the kids. They screen movies on education or make them do some craft work etc., and then ... volunteers and children eat the same food together. The movement ... has spread, [and] the number of volunteers has grown from six to over 600.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.