Each month we try to bring you some of the most inspiring and informative stories from across the globe.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity floating around the news today, but there’s an equal number of uplifting stories worth sharing as well. From world-changing medical breakthroughs to simple acts of human kindness, here are 10 positive news stories you might have missed over the last month.
A 93-year-old survivor of the Holocaust finally got his Bar Mitzvah.
Samuel Heider’s life was forever changed a month before his 13th birthday when World War II broke out. His family was separated and sent to different concentration camps. Both his parents and siblings perished. “I never saw my mother ever, ever again,” Heider told ABC News. Heider never had a proper Bar Mitzvah — a rite of passage for Jewish boys into manhood — until 90 years later. At the Beth Jacob Synagogue in Dayton, Ohio, Heider was surrounded by his children and grandchildren and given the Bar Mitzvah he never had. “God gave me strength… This day is, for me, a happy day and a very emotional day too,” Heider told the congregation as he held back tears of joy. “I am blessed to have my family.”
A teacher in Ghana who had to teach computer tech on a chalkboard received a donation of computers.
Learning about computers without actually getting to use or even see a computer might seem like an oxymoron, but for the students of Ghanaian teacher Richard Appiah Akoto, that was exactly the case. Akoto had only a chalkboard to teach his students about computers at Betenase M/A Junior High School, in the southern Ghana town of Sekyedumase. After a news story about Akoto’s situation made international headlines, multiple organizations came to his aid and donated both desktop and laptop computers for the students in his class. If that wasn’t enough of an educational boost, Microsoft stepped up and flew Akoto to Singapore so he could receive further training through Microsoft’s Educators Exchange.
A deaf dog has become a comic book superhero to promote acceptance.
For kids with disabilities, acceptance among their peers can sometimes be difficult, but for the students at Mennies Elementary School in Vineland, New Jersey, they have a fourlegged hero on their side. His name is Cole a.k.a. Maestro Mutt, and he’s the canine superhero working to teach kids about acceptance of those with special needs. Cole belongs to Chris Hannah, the school’s music teacher who adopted him from a local shelter, that was having a hard time placing the dog in a forever home because he’s deaf.
Hannah occasionally brings his dog to school in a superhero costume to help the children understand that Cole is like other dogs, only he learns things in an alternative way. “The best thing you learn is accepting those who may be a little different,” Hannah told USA Today. Cole is working to become a certified therapy dog, so he can visit hearing-impaired children at hospitals and schools.
Addidas has sold more than a million pairs of shoes made out of recycled ocean plastic.
We’ve reported many times on the daunting plastic pollution problem facing our planet’s oceans, and now Adidas is doing what it can to help fight the issue. The shoe company has been making shoe soles out of collected ocean plastic, and has announced that they sold over a million pairs in 2017. The Ultraboost shoes are created through a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, and each pair is made out of 11 plastic bottles collected from the sea.
Taco Bell is extending its educational benefits to include all employees.
Fast food giant Taco Bell has over 7,000 stores in the United States, and now all of its 210,000 employees are getting an educational boost. The company announced that it has partnered with Guild Education to offer “access to personalized college advisors and tuition discounts for thousands of classes, certificates, and degrees.” This includes up to $5,250 per calendar year in tuition assistance that is paid up front, so that employees don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses. Frank Tucker, Global Chief People Officer at Taco Bell, said a survey of employees revealed that educational support was a top request. Guild added that time and money were a barrier for many employees and said the company plans to offer “tuition assistance and a personal counselor to support each student in real time.”
The Netherlands has opened the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle.
While Adidas may be working to take plastic out of the oceans, the Netherlands is doing its best to make sure that plastic never makes it to the water in the first place. Believed to be the world’s first, a plastic-free aisle has opened at a supermarket in Amsterdam where over 700 products will be available without plastic packaging. Plastic Planet, the team behind the initiative hopes that it will be the spark that spurs similar retail change across the rest of Europe. Seventy-four similar grocery store aisles are expected to open throughout the country this year.
Researchers are moving a chemotherapy-free cancer treatment from mice to humans.
We’re moving closer to fighting cancer without the physically harsh treatment of chemotherapy. A Stanford study has cured cancerous tumors in 97 percent of mice without chemo through immunotherapy, and is now moving on to the next trial stage with human volunteers. “Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer,” Dr. Ronald Levy, a Stanford oncology professor who is leading the study, told the SF Gate. “People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be.” Levy and his team are seeking volunteers with low-grade lymphoma and are planning to run two trials this year with around 35 test subjects.
This kid got a surprise from a Stranger Things actor after nobody came to his birthday party.
A cake with Christmas lights and beverage dispenser of full of Demogorgon blood (fruit punch) were just a few of the highlights of Aaron Alambat’s Stranger Things themed birthday party. Unfortunately, none of the 12-year-olds invited classmates showed up. Aaron’s 16-year-old sister, Ayen Alambat, expressed her frustration on Twitter and the tweet quickly went viral, catching Stranger Things‘ Eleven herself, Millie Bobby Brown. Brown tweeted to Ayen “Tell your brother I wish I was invited to his party! LOVE his decorations! Tell him in a world full of tens he is an Eleven! They are all mouth breathers anyways.” Actor Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dust, chimed in also adding “Count me in too! I’ll bring the chocolate pudding.” Needless to say, the tweets were just the thing to raise Aaron’s spirits. “My brother was calling me when Millie started tweeting us,” said Ayen.
An accidental wrong number text raised $55,000 for leukemia.
It’s not often that a wrong number text raises a ton of cash, but that’s what happened for Tony Wood of Spring Hill Tennessee. Hill received a wrong number text of a woman in a dress and rather than simply deleting it, he responded back with his kids giving the thumbs up and replying “My wife isn’t home so I couldn’t get her opinion, but the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress”. Hill and his wife have six children and their six-year-old son, Kaizler is battling leukemia. The wrong number text exchange quickly went viral and news spread of the Hill family’s GoFundMe page, that eventually received $55,000 in donations.
A school community rallied around a gay athlete after they learned about a hate group’s protest.
Senior Jake Bain is a star athlete on his St. Louis high school’s football team and will be heading off to play at Indiana State next year. He’s also gay. Controversial hate group, the Westboro Baptist Church had been planning to protest Bain’s position on the team but his school and local community support groups stepped in ahead of the planned protest. Pride St. Louis has sided with Bain to denounce the group and the school sent a letter to all parents commending the student body for supporting their fellow classmate, calling them “inspiring.” As for Bain, the senior isn’t letting any negativity get to him and says he’s just going to keep being himself. “I wanted to show people around St. Louis and everywhere else that you can be whoever you want to be,” he said.