In 2020, the story of Rehan Staton, 18, went viral. Staton had been rejected from every college he applied to when he took a job as a sanitation worker. The sanitation team helped him to enroll into school at Bowie State University, after which his raised his grades to 4.0—landing him with a chance of Harvard Law School via classes at the University of Maryland.
In 2020, he said “It was the first time in my life a group of individuals that weren’t my father or my brother just came around me and… really just empowered me, uplifted me, told me I was intelligent.” During this time, his father had a stroke and Staton found himself waking at 4am for work to help pay medical bills and studying at night. Actor Tyler Perry offered to pay for Staton’s schooling after seeing a viral video of the young man reacting to his Harvard acceptance. Another $200,000 was raised via GoFundMe to help send Staton to the college.
After that, he began to give back, befriending all the school janitors and other staff who were surprised he wanted to speak to them. Staton started a non-profit called the Reciprocity Effect that works with support staff affiliated with educational institutions. The non-profit helps to crowdfund financial assistance for these hard-working folks in the case of personal tragedies.
He was able to give out several prizes at organized ceremonies to honor them with recognition and awards.
Now, after years of hard work and perseverance, Staton has graduated, with a job lined up in a New York law firm. Staton said “Although I get credit for working hard, working hard was the easy part. I just happened to be around people who cared enough about me. I worked for a trash company, where my co-workers told me that I should go to college instead. I had a boss who let me leave work, go to school, and come back. I had a cousin who helped me study for the LSAT. “I couldn’t have done it alone.”
A group of graduates from Georgia’s class of 23 stands out as 9 inmates at Walker State Prison in Georgia received their associates degrees for 60 credit hours of coursework done while incarcerated. Organized by Georgia State University as part of their Prison Education Project, the courses included a variety of subjects such as environmental science, English, philosophy and ethics, and geology.
On May 5, Perimeter College graduated its first class of students who earned their degrees in general studies. According to the college, three graduated with GPAs above 3.9 and the rest were above 3.7. Georgia State University Perimeter College geology professor Polly Bouker began teaching the students in January 2022.
Her class included 12 people, the nine graduates and three others who started later, ranged in age from 35 to 61. “I’ve worked 23 years in higher education, and this has been my absolute top experience,” Bouker said. For most of the students in the program, the education they received is the first time they’ve earned a degree.
By 2025, GSU would like to offer the PEP associates degree in five other Georgia penitentiaries. Patrick Rodriguez, director of the PEP said 50 other students are already in the pipeline, something which he says will reduce the chances they will end up incarcerated again. Research links educational attainment with a lower recidivism rate.
Post Malone helped a young Scottish musician fulfill his dream of buying his first home.
Malone was in Glasgow for a show when he struck up a conversation with local artist Gregor Hunter Coleman at a local pub. Coleman appeared on The X Factor UK in 2017, but now works in the Scotland music scene and frequently holds street performances.
The emerging artist was only aware the rapper was in attendance after his set when they struck up a conversation. During conversation, Malone offered to buy him a drink and learned Coleman, 30, is no longer drinking because he’s been saving his money to buy a house. So instead of buying him a drink, Malone got Coleman a gig at his concert afterparty. “He started saying, how much will you charge? I said nothing, it’s Post Malone, this is the chance of a lifetime. Then he offered to help me out with my deposit so I could have more time to focus on music, which I thought was wild” Coleman said.
Along with the money — an amount Coleman chose not to disclose — he and Malone also exchanged phone numbers.”Never thought whilst heading out the door with my guitar on Friday night for my gig at Wunderbar that I’d meet Post Malone and have such a life changing experience. The hours spent with this gent chatting and jamming was life changing in itself, not to mention what followed” Coleman wrote in an Instagram post.
Coleman said Malone also told him to send him his music in exchange for feedback. Malone is known to have a heart of gold, as he recently swapped sneakers with a ticket holder at a concert or when he ditched his own dinner plans to celebrate a superfan’s 21 birthday.
A 13-year-old boy in Michigan is being hailed a hero after fighting off a potential kidnapper with his slingshot. The boy’s 8 year old sister was hunting for mushrooms in her backyard in Alpena when a 17-year-old appeared out of the woods behind the family’s home. According to the Michigan State Police, the suspect grabbed the girl, holding her mouth shut to prevent her from screaming.
According to Michigan State Police, the teen suspect managed to catch the girl off-guard, covering her mouth with his hand so that she couldn’t scream. He then wrapped his arm around her waist and began dragging her backward into the woods from which he emerged. Just then, the victim’s older brother sprang into action.
Her brother, Owen Burns, starting shooting the suspect with a slingshot. The boy managed to fire off two perfect shots, striking the would-be kidnapper in the head and chest until he retreated. The suspect ran away and was later found hiding at a nearby gas station. He reportedly had obvious injuries that appeared to have been caused by the slingshot.
Officials announced that the suspect confessed to police that he “planned on severely beating the victim” once he got her into the woods. He was charged with one count of attempted kidnapping/child enticement, one count of attempted assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, and one count of assault and battery. His bond was set at $150,000.
A Michigan State Police spokesperson said “You wouldn’t think if you were playing in your own back yard or on your own property that you have to be concerned about something like this, but it just goes to show that there is evil out there. Owen was “really the one” to save her. For a 14-year-old to see that and pop into action that quickly is extraordinary and he should be commended for it. What he did also helped us identify who the suspect was of the obvious injuries from being hit with the slingshot and those were things that helped us evidentiary-wise identify who it was.”
A German shepherd who was wandering the streets of Detroit with a stuffed toy after her owner died has been rescued. Her road to recovery started in early May when pictures of the pup, named Nikki, circulated among rescues in the Metro Detroit area. When Gail Montgomery, the cofounder of Almost Home Animal Rescue saw the pictures of Nikki alone in the rain, clutching a plush toy in her mouth-it channeled an emotional response and she knew she had to help.
She reached out to her contacts at South Lyon Murphy Lost Animal Recovery for help finding the dog and getting her off the street. People with It Is Pawzable Dog Training, Sugar Mutts Dog Grooming, and others came together to find the German shepherd by showing photos of her to nearby residents.
Once they found her, she was taken to an emergency animal hospital to be treated. Unfortunately, she is heartworm positive and has other internal problems. They found plastic bags, twigs, and bones in her stomach but thankful she is being treated and has been placed in a foster home until she is ready for her forever home.
Montgomery later learned that Nikki had been on her own for months, likely due to the death of her owner. The canine was living off the generosity of neighbors and scrounging for scraps. South Lyon Murphy Lost Animal Recovery posted a heartwarming thank-you message to everyone who helped save Nikki.
“There’s so many people to taink it’s a really long list. Without Almost Home backing the dog or another rescue, unfortunately, we can’t recover them. Thank you to Rebeka who watched out for her and has been feeding her for the past several months. Thank you to SugarMutts who will be doing her grooming. I can tell you she is absolutely filthy and her double coat is still in there and she’s going to feel so much better when that’s all washed and blown out. Thank you to every single one of you who donated, wanted to know how she was, called, message, communicated and posted, wanting to know what her status was. All of us can do what we do but without you guys, we are nothing. United, we stand and divided we fall.”
Three time NBA Championship winner Rick Fox co-founded and is the CEO of Partanna, which manufactures concrete that absorbs more carbon from the air than it contributes during the manufacturing process. Fox believes tropical storms are becoming more intense due to carbon content in the atmosphere.
Fox got involved in 2019 when he got a call from his manager just after Hurricane Dorian smashed into Fox’s home in the Bahamas. His manager, who was also displaced by a natural disaster—the fires in California in 2018, said she had met an architect called Sam Marshall who was developing carbon-negative concrete.
Instead of using Portland cement, which is a major source of carbon emissions, they use a special mixture of natural and recycled ingredients that’s cured at ambient temperature rather than the high temps that make concrete and cement responsible for the largest share of the manufacturing emissions pie chart.
The binder components consume CO2 as they cure, which means they actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. They use a brine activator that’s found in natural pozzolans, which helps avoid using the energy-intensive clinkering process. Every part of the concrete process is designed to reduce its environmental impact.
Believing in the cause, Fox went all in and became the co-founder and CEO of Partanna “I’ve been a part of a lot of amazing journeys and industries, from entertainment to movies and TV. I’ve been on sets with Oscar-winning actors and directors, and I’ve been on championship NBA teams. There’s been nothing more rewarding for me in my life than to be a part of this team where we’re leaving something behind,” Fox said.
Donna Herter, watched her 24 year old son, Christian Bowers, struggle with making friends. Christian has Down Syndrome, and making friends was never hard for him until he finished school and found, as many people do, it’s not as easy and straightforward to maintain a social life.
Bowers’ mother, Donna Herter, watched her son sink further and further into depression. He occasionally attends gatherings and groups of other special needs men and women his age, but longed for friendships. Eventually, Herter put up a post on Facebook asking if any local guys near Rochester, Minnesota, would be interested in coming to hang out with Christian for two hours, with a compensation of $80,00.
Herter put up the post at 4AM, the end of her night shift as a nurse. She headed home and went to sleep and woke up to over 5,000 comments on her post. Hundreds of commenters volunteered to help free of charge. She eventually found 7 fellows from Wentzville, Minnesota, who visit Christian once a week on a rotating schedule. Herter says her son goes to sleep with a smile on his face now, and is excited about life in general, and of the future as well.
One of the 7 friends, James Hasting, said he felt terrible seeing the post and that Herter had reached the point where she was trying to pay people to visit her son. Hasting, who volunteers with special needs folks, said hanging out just for a few hours to watch a movie or play video games with Christian has changed the way he looks at the world.
Emmy-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph shared the story of what experiencing kindness from a white teacher meant to her during the early days of desegregation. Ralph’s primary school education came at a time when racial tensions were high across the country with the push for desegregation in public schools.
Ralph, who attended Driggs Elementary School in Waterbury, Connecticut, described the moment shared with her kindergarten teacher that has stuck with her all these years. She remembered her teacher, Ms. Spencer, grasping her hand and even remembers her scent. “This young woman held my hand. This is a young white woman in Waterbury, Connecticut. I’m a child of the ’60s right, and the idea that your teacher was holding you close, no matter what your color was, just spoke volumes to me.”
“I can still feel it to this day, I’m left handed … and I can still feel it and see where I stood with that teacher” In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, Ralph partnered with the Sonic Foundation to match up to $1.5 million in public donations sent on May 9 through DonorsChoose.org. The website consists of wish lists from public school teachers across the country. Teachers will have full discretion on how they allocate the money raised for them.
A Michigan seventh grader is being hailed a hero for his quick thinking when his bus driver suffered a medical episode while behind the wheel. Dillon Reeves, a student at Lois E. Carter Middle School in Warren, took immediate action on a bus ride home from school. Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert D. Livernois called Reeves’ actions “an extraordinary act of courage and maturity.”
The bus driver experienced dizziness while driving and followed protocol by alerting ‘“home base” that she wasn’t feeling well and was going to pull over to allow the transportation department to dispatch someone to provide relief to her. But the driver lost consciousness before she could make it to where she planned to park and the bus started to veer into oncoming traffic.
Reeves, who was seated five rows back, jumped from his seat, threw his backpack down, ran to the front of the bus, grabbing the steering wheel. He pushed the brake to bring the bus to a stop in the middle of the road. In a video released by authorities, Reeves is seen taking control of the steering wheel, slowly pushing the brakes, and then yelling to the other panicked students: “Someone call 911. Now. Someone should call 911. I don’t care! Someone call 911!”
Warren police and fire departments responded to the scene within minutes and treated the bus driver. Livernois commended his actions saying “He had the wherewithal to push it slowly, likely in anticipation that the bus was full of passengers. So despite the justifiable panic on the bus, you could imagine this is probably a 66-passenger bus and it was full at the time.”
All of the students were loaded onto a different bus to make their way home. The driver, a 40-year-old woman, is “stable but with precautions” and was transported to a hospital for examination. Thanks to Reeves, no students suffered any injuries and there was no damage to the bus or any of the surrounding property.
Reeves’ parents, Steve and Ireta Reeves, praised their son and called him “our little hero.” Steve Reeves said “First off, we are very, very proud. I mean, this is overwhelming for all of us.”
His mother Ireta Reeves added “Dillon, he’s really been a great guy this year. He has come a long way. He has surprised us with great grades and with his performances at schools with friends, with peers. And to do something like this just fills my heart, makes my heart skip a beat.”
A Welshwoman with late-stage renal failure met a kidney donor on the beach while vacationing with her two Dobermans. Forty-four year old Lucy Humphrey has lived her whole adult life with lupus and in 2017, her doctors told her that if she couldn’t find a new kidney in 5-year’s time, there was a chance she would die. Requiring kidney dialysis, Humphrey and her partner Cenydd Owen had to cancel their campervan holiday and so decided to drive to the beach for a barbeque instead.
While there, one of their two Dobermans, a big lug called Indie, kept running over to another camper to pester her while she was crocheting. By the third time, Owen went over to apologize and the camper, Katie James, was soon over at the barbeque chatting with Humphrey. That’s when James learned that Humphrey needed a kidney.
James mentioned that she had just joined the kidney donation register and offered to swap phone numbers. Humphrey said “To be honest I didn’t think anything else would come of it.” Blood tests later revealed the two campers were a perfect match, something which Humphrey described as a 1-in-22 million chance. The transplant took place in October of 2022, after which Humphrey needed 4 weeks to be discharged from the hospital due to James’ donated kidney not “waking up” fast enough.
James said when she first signed up she was told she wouldn’t receive any information on what her donated kidney would accomplish, whether it saved a life or not, or even who it went to. Now, she not only knows for sure it saved a woman’s life, but it has created a lasting friendship. Humphrey said “I’m so grateful for her… I told my partner in 2019 if I didn’t find a transplant within five years it was possible something would happen and I would die. I just want this to be a message to other people not to give up hope.”