Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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Bullying is a serious problem. According to Family First Aid, nearly 30 percent of teens in the U.S. are estimated to be in school bullying, whether they're being bullied or doing the bullying. Josh Yandt, who lives in London, Ontario, was no exception. After being bullied for years, he decided to make one simple tweak when he transferred schools: He started opening doors for his classmates. "Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act, it’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors gives people hope that people care.” Holding the door for his classmates changed everything for Yandt, and now he has more friends than he can count. “People just love what I do. Every day people always say ‘thank you,’ people smile, and it’s really great,” he told Canada's CBC news as classmates clapped him on the back, said thanks, or gave a hello as they passed by in the hallway. The story doesn't end there. Yandt was crowned prom king, and he's taken on speaking engagements, sharing his story with younger students.
Note: Watch a video of Yandt's inspiring story, and see for yourself how a small change in his habits invited Yandt's peers to open up and treat him with kindness and respect.
Ethical consumers in the United States are increasingly concerned with the seeds used in the production of their food. However, this has been an issue in Europe for many years. In fact, there are several transnational seed-saver networks, like Arche Noah, whose members have become experts on heritage seeds. One of the most famous groups within Arche Noah’s 8,000-member network is the “live” seed bank Peliti, which has been raising awareness about endangered varieties of heritage seeds since 1995. Once tiny, now Peliti is an NGO that receives thousands of visitors for its annual seed swap where you can get a mind-boggling number of seed varieties for free. It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world. They call themselves a “live seed bank” because traditional seed banks store seeds under refrigeration, sometimes for up 15 years, which is “more like a seed museum than a seed bank,” according to volunteer Vasso Kanellopoulou. Peliti concentrates on keeping their seeds reproducing [to prevent] genetic erosion. It is [part of] the larger global seed-saver network. Their organization has given birth to many satellite communities that are linked with one another via a Google Group. Panagiotis Sainatoudis, Peliti’s founder, says that one of the organization’s basic principles is “to support man’s freedom to keep his own seed so he won’t depend every year on seed purchase, commerce, not even on the seeds supplied by Peliti.”
Note: In the United States, industrial agriculture companies are using the USDA to antagonize local community seed sharing groups. Find out more here.
2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. We have recently been celebrating a quarter-century since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which kicked off a period of global calm. The Canadian academic Steven Pinker has called this era the “New Peace”, noting that conflicts of all kinds – genocide, autocracy and even terrorism – went on to decline sharply the world over. Global life expectancy now stands at a new high of 71.5 years, up six years since 1990. In India, life expectancy is up seven years for men, and 10 for women. It’s rising faster in the impoverished east of Africa than anywhere else on the planet. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, life expectancy has risen by 15 years. The Ebola crisis has led to 7,000 deaths, each one a tragedy. But far more lives have been saved by the progress against malaria, HIV and diarrhoea. The World Bank’s rate of extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990, mainly thanks to China. We still have a lamentably long list of problems to solve. But in the round, there’s no denying it: we are living in the Golden Era.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Onlookers at a train station in northern India watched in awe as a monkey came to the rescue of an injured friend — resuscitating another monkey that had been electrocuted and knocked unconscious. The injured monkey had fallen between the tracks, apparently after touching high-tension wires at the train station in the north Indian city of Kanpur. His companion came to the rescue and was captured on camera lifting the friend's motionless body, shaking it, dipping it into a mud puddle and biting its head and skin — working until the hurt monkey regained consciousness. The first monkey, completely covered in mud, opened its eyes and began moving again. Crowds of travelers watched the Sunday scene in amazement, filming and snapping pictures.
Note: Watch a one-minute video of this most unusual heroic act.
Christopher Catrambone and his wife have spent $7.5 million of their own money rescuing migrants. In the summer of 2014, Catrambone and his wife Regina channelled [their] empathy – and $7.5m of the family’s personal wealth – into an extraordinary mission to launch the world’s first private search and rescue operation. The aim of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) was to locate the flimsy vessels overloaded with men, woman and children [in the Mediterranean Sea] trying to reach sanctuary in Europe, and save the lives of the passengers if they were in danger. “We’re not here to save the world, we’re here to help people who are in desperate need,” says Catrambone. “We leveraged nearly 50% of our savings on this project because it was that important to us.” Now they are appealing for the public’s help to keep the operation going. Global conflicts have forced record numbers of people on perilous voyages to Europe, but rich nations have scaled back operations to save them – a situation Catrambone finds astonishing. During their [first] 60 days in international waters, MOAS assisted nearly 3,000 people in jeopardy at sea. While an impressive figure, that’s still just a small proportion of the 207,000 people the U.N. refugee agency estimates set sail on clandestine voyages in the Mediterranean this year. That figure dwarfs the previous record of 70,000 people who attempted the voyage in 2011, after the Arab Spring sent the first wave of asylum-seekers towards Europe.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
John Emerson Moss is an unheralded giant in the capital of California. Moss [represented] Sacramento in Congress for 25 years – a career marked by one of the most noteworthy legislative records of the second half of the 20th century. Moss was the author and champion of the federal Freedom of Information Act, which gave any American the right to access federal records once routinely sealed by the most powerful forces in the American government. Because of Moss, there is the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He played a major role in enacting the Toy Safety Act, the Poison Package Control Act, the Federal Privacy Act. He was chief sponsor of the Clean Air Act. Moss was one of the first voices in government to come out against the Vietnam War, a position that put him squarely at odds with President Lyndon Johnson – one of the most politically powerful and vindictive men to occupy the Oval Office. A Democrat like Johnson, Moss’ opposition to Vietnam and his dogged pursuit of FOIA cost him what many politicians crave most – power. President Johnson was against the idea of opening federal records to the public and he fought Moss behind closed doors. Moss prevailed when Johnson bowed to pressure from newspaper editors and a growing mistrust of government. He signed FOIA into law the week of July 4, 1966. It was a momentous event. But there is no film of Moss standing behind Johnson as he signed FOIA into law because a grudging Johnson refused to have a public signing ceremony to mark the event.
Note: Moss’ 100th birthday falls on April 13, 2015. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The rape by six men of the 23-year-old Delhi medical student who later died of her injuries sparked national protests and changes to India’s rape laws. For film-maker Ram Devineni, founder of the publisher and film production company Rattapallax, it also led to Priya’s Shakti, a new comic for teenagers which Rattapallax says is “rooted in ancient matriarchal traditions that have been displaced in modern representations of Hindu culture”, and which is intended to support “the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference through love, creativity and solidarity”. Illustrated by Dan Goldman, the comic is about to be unveiled at Mumbai Comic-Con. It tells the story of Priya, devoted to the goddess Parvati, and as a young girl, full of dreams of becoming a teacher. But she is told by her father to stop going to school, and to stay home and take care of the house. As she grows up, she is the victim of increasing sexual violence, until she is raped - and then thrown out of the family home. Parvati is horrified to discover what women on earth go through, and inspires Priya to speak out and spread a new message to the world: to treat women with respect, educate all children, and speak out when a woman is being mistreated. Priya, riding on a tiger, returns to her village. She is, said Devineni, “a new hero for a modern India”. Priya’s Shakti – Shakti is “the female principle of divine energy” – is available free online, and Rattapallax has printed 6,000 copies in Hindi and English for the convention and for educational distribution.
Note: For more, read this inspiring article in the Christian Science Monitor.
Some of the highest employment rates in the advanced world are in places with the highest taxes and most generous welfare systems, namely Scandinavian countries. The United States and many other nations with relatively low taxes and a smaller social safety net actually have substantially lower rates of employment. In Scandinavian countries, working parents have the option of heavily subsidized child care. Leave policies make it easy for parents to take off work. Heavily subsidized public transportation may make it easier for a person in a low-wage job to get to and from work. And free or inexpensive education may make it easier to get the training to move from the unemployment rolls to a job. Wages for entry-level work are much higher in the Nordic countries than in the United States, reflecting a higher minimum wage, stronger labor unions and cultural norms that lead to higher pay. Perhaps more Americans would enter the labor force if even basic jobs paid [adequate wages], regardless of whether the United States provided better child care and other services. There is a lesson from Scandinavia useful in its simplicity: If you make it easier for people to work, it may be the case that more will.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
"It's tough growing up here," said Wright of his low-income neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut. "I was walking around with a lot on my shoulders," he said. "I couldn't handle it. I didn't care about life anymore." But all that started to change when Wright met Patricia Kelly. A former U.S. Marine and an equestrian, [she] took Wright under her wing and helped him find hope in an unlikely place: on a horse. For the last 30 years, Kelly has helped children in Hartford stay on the right track through her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen. The program offers horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year. "We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing," said Kelly, 66. Connecticut ... has one of the nation's largest income gaps between rich and poor. Kelly ... witnessed the effects of that inequality. "It is a divided city; the children in the poorer neighborhoods have less resources," Kelly said. "When you teach a child to ride a horse, they learn they are the center of their environment," said Kelly, whose program reaches children from age 5 to 19. "Once they make that connection, they can change what happens in school, at home and in the community." In the case of young men like Wright, the nonprofit has been a critical part of their development. "I can't tell you where I would be without this program. It changed my life. It's helped me set goals for myself," said Wright, who has dreams of becoming an equine blacksmith and dentist.
Findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on ... our DNA. Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation – an adapted form of Buddhist meditation in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way ... are associated with preserved telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes and help prevent chromosomal deterioration. We want our telomeres intact. In Carlson’s study distressed breast cancer survivors were divided into three groups. The first group was randomly assigned to ... mindfulness meditation and yoga; the second to 12-weeks of group therapy; and the third was a control group, receiving just a 6-hour stress management course. Telomeres were maintained in both treatment groups but shortened in controls. Previous work hinted at this. More recent work looking at meditation reported similar findings. The biologic benefits of meditation in particular extend well beyond telomere preservation. Earlier work by Carlson found that ... mindfulness is associated with healthier levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a decrease in compounds that promote inflammation.
Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, in Armley, Leeds, feeds his punters on goods that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets, independent grocers and food banks. The 29-year-old trained chef cooks up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted food, charging [based on] a “pay as you feel” policy - allowing punters to pay what they feel they can, and if that is nothing, they can help with the washing up. In just 10 months he has fed 10,000 people on 20 tonnes of unwanted food, raising over Ł30,000. The cafe ... has inspired 47 other "pay as you feel" cafes to spring in the past few months. But Mr Smith says The Real Junk Food Project ... is about more than simply feeding those who might otherwise go hungry. "It is bringing people from different demographics together [in a way] that doesn't involve money. People are opening Junk Food Projects because they have had enough of what is going on in society and care about what is happening to other human beings," he said. The publication of an all-party report into Hunger in Britain last week revealed 4m people in the UK were at risk of going hungry, while 3.5m adults could not afford to feed themselves properly. Britain experienced the highest rate of food inflation in the world the report said, rising 47% since 2003, compared with 30.4% in the United States, 22.1% in Germany and 16.7% in France.
For decades, American high school teacher Bruce Farrer has been asking his students to write letters to their future selves. 20 years later, he tracks down the students and posts their letters to them. Speaking in a video for US airline West Jet, Farrer says that the letters have become more valuable because we now communicate far less by letters than we did 20 years ago. He created the assignment because he wanted his students to do an exercise "that was different, that would be interesting and one that they would value". An old pupil of Farrer says when he was asked to write a 10 page letter to his future self, he thought it was "a lesson just to pass the time, to keep us busy for a few hours while he did other things". He now understands what a dedicated teacher Farrer was. Of course, tracking down your students 20 years after teaching them is a challenging task. Farrer describes it as "a lot of detective work" but he is excited to find out the different paths his ex-pupils have taken. The video shows the reactions of some of Farrer's old students upon opening their letters. One describes it as an "emotional roller-coaster" as she reads about the passing of her grandmother and aunt, experienced through the eyes of her younger self. Despite the profound effect that receiving the letters has on its recipients, Farrer remains modest about his diligence and commitment. "I'm just a regular teacher who happened to assign a rather different assignment", he says.
In the mid-90s, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard thousands of hours of testimony about human rights violations. The goal was to confront the crimes of apartheid while reconciling black and white South Africans who committed and suffered from them. Over the course of three years, more than 15,000 statements were taken. [Civil rights activist Angela] Davis hopes a similar process could help reconcile the wounds of deep, systemic American racism today. “To move toward a reconciled America, we have to do the work ourselves,” Davis wrote. So far, Davis’ piece has garnered overwhelming interest, with readers and leaders around the country offering to help establish such a commission. Here we offer a piece from the archives, an excerpt of [Archbishop Desmond] Tutu’s speech to the South African press club in 1997: This process has made a contribution to reconciliation, to healing, as the 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act says. After the first hearing in East London, Matthew Goniwe’s brother came to me and said, “We have told our story many, many times already. But this is the first time that, after telling it, it is as if a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.” Now we will know what happened to the Cradock Four, the Pepco Three, Siphiwo Mtimkulu, Steve Biko, and others. Despite inquests and inquiries, all these truths had remained concealed. The TRC process has helped to expose the real truth, and this surely is helping to heal.
Note: Perhaps a truth and reconciliation commission would help to reveal and even heal all of the massive corruption taking place around the world. Read this article for more. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
There's a growing movement in America to train people to get around the stresses of daily life. It's a practice called "mindfulness" and it basically means being aware. Jon Kabat-Zinn is an MIT-trained scientist who's been practicing mindfulness for 47 years. Back in 1979, he started teaching mindfulness through meditation to people suffering from chronic pain and illness. That program is now used in more than 700 hospitals worldwide. Jon Kabat-Zinn: When your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, what is the nature of the mind in that moment? Are you already like, "oh my God," your calendar pops into your mind and you're driven already, or can you take a moment and just lie in bed and just feel your body breathing. And remember, "oh yeah, brand new day and I'm still alive." So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower. You may not be. You may be in your first meeting at work. You may have 50 people in the shower with you. If you look at people out on the street, if you look at people at restaurants, nobody's having conversations anymore. They're sitting at dinner looking at their phone, because their brain is so addicted to it. So all of this is leading to a societal exhaustion. But if you're starting to think mindfulness is something you should start practicing, he says you may be missing the point.
The holidays are a time which put a lot of people in the spirit of giving and helping others, and one YouTube video, which is currently trending on social media, encompasses just that. In the video, uploaded by an organization called Memory Bridge, the selfless and caring spirit of one woman is displayed as she forms a very personal interaction using gospel music with someone who has longed for that connection while in the late and deteriorating stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. According to her biography, Naomi Feil, the founder of Validation Therapy and someone who has worked with the elderly for over 40 years, has long believed traditional methods of working with severely disoriented elderly people needed to change. That belief led her to write several books on the subject, and develop alternative therapies.
Note: What a beautiful way to connect with those who have late stage Alzheimers disease. Don't miss this most touching video with a beautiful surprise at the end.
Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world's top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms. The move by districts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County is intended to protect children's health amid concerns about the rise of so-called "superbugs," bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines. The change may raise costs for schools. The six districts ... hope to limit costs by combining their purchasing power. Under the new standards, all chicken products served in the districts must come from birds that were never fed antibiotics. School officials are demanding the change after meeting with industry experts and "really understanding how this affects the human body overall and our future with antibiotic resistance," said Leslie Fowler, executive director of nutrition support services for the Chicago Public Schools. The switch is expected to take several years. Companies like Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp have said they will not be able to change production systems quickly. A Reuters investigation in September found that major U.S. poultry firms were administering antibiotics to their flocks far more pervasively than regulators realized.
In Xiaolin Zheng's version of the future, installing solar panels could be as simple as applying a sticker. “In China, the rooftops of many buildings are packed with solar energy devices,” says Zheng. “One day my father mentioned how great it would be if a building’s entire surface could be used for solar power, not just the roof, but also walls and windows.” An invention from Zheng's research team at Stanford University might someday make that possible. They have created a type of solar cell that is thin, flexible, and adhesive—a solar sticker. “Our new technique lets us treat the solar cells like a pizza,” explains Zheng. “When you bake pizza, you use a metal pan that can tolerate high temperatures. But when it’s time to distribute the pizza economically, it’s placed in a paper box." Working with her students, Zheng set out to fabricate solar cells on a silicone or glass surface as usual, but she inserted a metallic layer between the cell and the surface. After some trial and error, the team was finally able to peel away the metallic layer from the surface. The result was ... skinny, bendable cells [that] can produce the same amount of electricity as rigid ones. According to Zheng. “The silicon wafers come through the process clean and shiny. So just like a pizza pan, they can be used again and again, which translates to savings.” And because the solar stickers are lighter than conventional panels, they will be easier and less expensive to install.
Note: Watch a video of this amazing process 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 campaign launching Tuesday aims to get growing businesses to do what San Francisco’s Salesforce.com did in its infancy 15 years ago: Promise to donate 1 percent of its equity, 1 percent of its employees’ time and 1 percent of the firm’s products to charity. Called the Pledge 1% Program — and led by Salesforce and others — it aims to get 500 other corporations to do the same over the next year. Those who have bought into the idea have seen other benefits. “It’s good for business, too,” said Bradley Heinz, program manager at Optimizely.org. The San Francisco company — which includes several top execs who used to work at Salesforce — is participating in the program. If a younger company can make philanthropy part of its DNA when it is smaller, it will become a way of life as it grows. It is somewhat easier to convince a young firm to volunteer time and offer its product at a deeply discounted rate. San Francisco’s income inequality divide — the fastest-growing in the country — is inspiring other growing companies to look at what they can do to help. Employees at Practice Fusion, a cloud medical records company in San Francisco, decided that they would take $50,000 that would have been used for their holiday gift and give it to the poor. “People were not that into the gifts and schwag,” said Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard. “They wanted to give back.”
In the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Americans have grown accustomed to images of police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. One such image is now going viral, but not for the reason one might think. The photo ... shows 12-year-old Devonte Hart and Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum embraced in a hug outside of a Ferguson rally on Tuesday. Hart’s mother ... explained that she and Hart went to downtown Portland “with the intention of spreading love and kindness.” Hart brandished a “Free Hugs” sign as he stood alone in front of a police barricade. His mother says he started to get emotional during the rally: “He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a ‘Free Hugs’ sign around his neck, when he’s a full-grown black male, if his life will be in danger for simply being.” That’s when Sgt. Barnum noticed Hart crying and called the boy over to him. Barnum ... asked why he was crying. Hart’s mother says his response was “about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected: “Yes. I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Next, Sgt Barnum asked if he could have one of the “Free Hugs” advertised on his sign. Barnum [said] “it’s a blessing for me that I didn’t miss an opportunity to impact this child.” The image has now been shared widely across social media. Hart’s mother called the tearful hug “one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.”
Note: Read lots more on this inspiring incident and the challenging background of Devonte Hart. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Pope Francis stood Saturday for two minutes of silent prayer facing east in one of Turkey's most important mosques, a powerful vision of Christian-Muslim understanding at a time when neighboring countries are experiencing violent Islamic assault on Christians and religious minorities. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi called it a moment of "silent adoration." It was a remarkably different atmosphere from Francis' first day in Turkey, when the simple and frugal pope was visibly uncomfortable with the pomp and protocol required of him for the state visit part of his trip. With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mega-palace, honor guard and horseback escort now behind him, Francis got down to the business of being pope, showing respect to Muslim leaders, celebrating Mass for Istanbul's tiny Catholic community and meeting with the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. Francis' visit comes at an exceedingly tense time for Turkey, with Islamic State militants grabbing territory next door in Syria and Iraq and sending some 1.6 million refugees fleeing across the border. Some refugees were expected to attend Francis' final event on Sunday before he returns to Rome. Francis was following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Turkey in 2006 amid heightened Christian-Muslim tensions over a now-infamous papal speech linking violence with the Prophet Mohammed.
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.