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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Oregon Man Walking 33 Miles to Work Given Car by Good Samaritan

Oregon Man Walking 33 Miles to Work Given Car by Good Samaritan

After local Oregon news shared a story about a Prineville man who walked 33 miles to work, a Good Samaritan gave him a car. Eric Akers walked 33 miles to his job in Bend after his car broke down. With no transportation and no means to pay for transportation, he began looking for a ride but couldn’t find one.

Akers told the news outlet “I needed to get to work no matter what. So I woke up early — about 9:00 a.m. Started around 10:00 a.m. Left for Bend and it took about 6 1/2 hours, but I made the trek.” He then worked his eight hour shift, getting off around 1:30am and made the 6 ½ hour trek back home. After his story aired the news station said emails started pouring in from people who wanted to give him a hand.

Chris Arsenault and his wife were amongst the people inspired to help Eric. Arsenault said he was on a tractor when the story came across his phone. “We decided we have more cars than we need, so we wanted to give him this little Honda,” Arsenault said. When asked if he’d have walked 33 miles to get to work he said, “There’s no way I would have done it. That’s what inspired us to do this.”

Arsenault reached out to Akers and the two met. “He just handed me the paperwork for the car and told me it’s mine,” Akers said. “The kindness and generosity of the community has been overwhelming.” Arsenault said the car used to be his aunt’s and she took good care of it but it was just sitting on their property unused. He added that he hopes more people will be inspired to help their neighbors.

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Kentucky Woman Pays It Forward After Lottery Win

Kentucky Woman Pays It Forward After Lottery Win

A Kentucky woman decided to pay it forward after a lottery win by handing out gift cards to strangers. Earlier this month, Crystal Dunn of Louisville won $146,000 playing the Bank Buster Jackpot Instant Play game online after wagering just $20. A few seconds later, she got a message on her computer screen saying that she had won the progressive jackpot which starts at $100,000 and increases with each ticket purchase.

Dunn said she didn’t believe she had actually won until she received an email from the lottery officials confirming the win. “I saw that and didn’t believe it at first. It’s a pretty exciting feeling. I never thought I would win something like this, but this goes to show it can happen.” Dunn decided to pay it forward after receiving her winnings, which amounted to $103,909.73 after taxes.

After depositing the check in the bank, lottery officials said she immediately made a stop at a local Meijer grocery store where she purchased $2,000 in gift cards. She then walked around the store giving the gift cards to random strangers. Dunn said “A few were taken back, thinking I was wanting something in return. I got an unexpected gift and I believe in paying it forward and wanted to pass it along.”

Dunn told lottery officials she wanted to pay it forward and she also plans to use the remainder of winnings on things she was already working toward, such as buying a car and paying off bills. “I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve had. This is a pretty amazing gift,” she said.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Russian Journalist Auctions Nobel Medal for $103M For Ukrainian Child Refugees

Russian Journalist Auctions Nobel Medal for $103M For Ukrainian Child Refugees

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, auctioned his Nobel Peace Prize to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees. The prize sold for $103.5 million, shattering the old record for a Nobel. Muratov also donated his $500,000 cash award. The proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Muratov said the idea of the donation, he said, “is to give the children refugees a chance for a future.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Muratov said he was particularly concerned about children who have been orphaned because of the conflict in Ukraine. “We want to return their future,” he said. The auction was held by Heritage Auction, who is not taking any share of the proceeds.

Muratov started out as a journalist for Soviet newspapers. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, he and other journalists co-founded the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which soon became a leading advocate for democracy and freedom of expression in Russia. Muratov was co-awarded the peace prize in 2021 for defending freedom of expression in Russia. He was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid the Kremlin’s clampdown on journalists and public dissent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under Mr Muratov’s leadership, Novaya Gazeta has criticised the Russian authorities for corruption, electoral fraud and human rights violations. Six of the newspaper’s journalists have been murdered because they wrote critical articles on Russian military operations in Chechnya and the Caucasus. The best known of them is Anna Politkovskaya.

The sale of the gold medal in New York will benefit Unicef’s humanitarian response for Ukraine’s displaced children, Heritage Auctions said in a statement. “The most important message today is for people to understand that there’s a war going on and we need to help people who are suffering the most,” Muratov said in a video released by Heritage Auctions.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on New York Public Library Giving Away 500,000 Books

New York Public Library Giving Away 500,000 Books

The New York Public Library launched a Summer at the Library initiative that includes a slew of free programs to entice readers. A full list of free programs and offerings—ranging from baby lapsit programs to arts and crafts for teens—can be found at their website. The library, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island-is highlighting the centerpiece of the program, a large scale book giveaway.

They are giving away 500,000 books for free to kids, teens and families at all of its branch locations. The initiative is an effort to help folks build their at-home libraries and “strengthen the city’s ecosystem of learning,” according to an official press release. Some libraries will even offer Spanish, Chinese and large print titles to keep.

The program started June 9th and anyone 18 and under can go to one of the branches with their library card or sign up for one and select a free book. The Summer at the Library project offers a list of over 100 summer reading recommendations from expert librarians. It also offers programs like storytimes and podcasting workshops; outdoor pop-ups that include library card sign-up events and others involving the NYPL’s famous bookmobiles; and a number of other initiatives targeted directly to adults.

Educators agree that reading over the summer is critical to helping kids maintain learning while school is out and also for fostering social-emotional development. Eighty-three-percent of educators say reading helps students understand people that are different from them, 81% say reading helps students develop empathy, and 81% say reading helps students see themselves in characters and stories.

Multiple studies have shown that owning books is a big boost to children’s literacy. Chidlren growing up in a home with at least 80 books are associated with higher literacy levels. Teens who grew up with a library of books at home “become as literate, numerate and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books.” A child who owns just one book of their own is six times more likely to read above grade level and three times as likely to enjoy reading.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on 2019 EuroMillions Winners Say They’ve Given Most of Winnings to Charity

2019 EuroMillions Winners Say They’ve Given Most of Winnings to Charity

Frances and Patrick Connelly won more than $145 million (£115) million in the lottery in 2019 and the self-confessed charity addicts say they’ve already given away half of it. Frances is a former social worker and teacher. She said winning the EuroMillions 2019 jackpot gave her all kinds of ideas on how to help people so after helping friends and family-the couple immediately set up two professional charities.

One is named after Frances’ late mother Kathleen Graham in her native Northern Ireland and the other is PFC Trust which supports organizations that support the elderly, refugees and others in her hometown. Connelly has been helping people since childhood. She volunteered with St. John’s Ambulance as a child and set up an AIDS helpline while a student in Belfast. She runs several community groups that do a variety of work—from helping refugees to providing seniors with tablets so they can video call their families.

In an interview, Frances said “Helping people… it just gives you a buzz. I’m addicted to it now.” Patty said when they won the couple sat down and he told Frances to go ahead and make a list of her charity ideas. In terms of personal treats, they did buy a new house—a six-bedroom home in Durham with seven acres of land. Frances said that most of the big money ideas have already been given out and that she has a yearly charity budget for the allocation.

She said she wasn’t overwhelmed with the large winnings, but rather recalled all those conversations she had had throughout her life about what would you do if you won the lottery so the hierarchy of helping was well established. She said she balks at the idea of spending money on luxuries like yachts, saying reports of people spending $25,000 on a bottle of champagne make her think the money could have helped someone buy a house.

The Connolly’s agree that winning a huge amount of money might change a person’s life but it does not alter their personality. Frances said “If I had any advice for a winner… I’d say money liberates you to be the person that you want to be. If you’re stupid before you get it, you’re going to be stupid afterwards.”

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Former Refugee Finally Finds Woman Who Gave Her $100 on a Plane Decades Ago

Former Refugee Finally Finds Woman Who Gave Her $100 on a Plane Decades Ago

One woman’s quest to find a stranger whose act of kindness years ago has helped shape who she is today, has finally come to an end. Ayda Zugay was an almost 12-year-old refugee fleeing the former Yugoslavia with her 17 year old sister when a stranger handed them the envelope on a flight to the United States in 1999. The woman made them promise not to open it until they got off the plane. Inside, the girls found dangly earrings and a $100 bill. A note in the envelope said “I am so sorry that the bombing of your country has caused your family any problems. I hope your stay in America will be a safe and happy one for you — Welcome to America — please use this to help you here. A friend from the plane — TRACY ”

Zugay says that money helped feed them for an entire summer. The two girls scraped by staying with their brother, who was a college student in Iowa at the time. And it’s still shaping the way both sisters live their lives 23 years later. She still remembers how she felt the first time she read the message on the envelope and how the word “safe” was underlined. “It was the first time that I felt, like, relief. This is a safe place, and we can build a future here,” she says. “I think that’s why the letter really resonated with me at that time, because we went from like this drastic horror into this beautiful act of kindness” she said.

Every year, on the anniversary of her arrival in the US, Zugay renewed her search to find her. Recently, Zugay’s video searching for Tracy was shared by Refugees International’s Twitter page and it went viral. She shared clues in the video such as “Tracy” was traveling with a friend and they both appeared to be in their late 30s or early 40s. One was a brunette with a ponytail and the other had mid-length blonde hair. Both women toted tennis rackets and they both spoke about playing tennis in Paris. She believed they may have lived in Minnesota, possibly within a few hours of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. The flight they met on was from Amsterdam to Minnesota on May 31, 1999.

Her years-long search finally came to an end when Tracy Peck, a 70-year-old massage therapist living in Minneapolis received a series of texts and calls — first from her tennis coach, then from her best friend. “Have you seen the CNN story?” both of them asked. “That has to be you.” Peck had no idea what they were talking about but she pulled over and opened the link they’d sent. A picture of a letter popped onto Peck’s iPhone screen. As soon as she saw it, she says, memories from a plane ride 23 years ago came rushing back and how frightened the sisters seemed. She said they reminded her of her own daughters and their experience fleeing war was heartbreaking, unlike anything she’d ever dealt with.

She cried as she read how the gift had changed their lives. With the help of friends and family with a whirlwind of tweets, emails and texts- less than a day later, Peck and the sisters reunited on an emotional Zoom call. Peck said she’s forever changed by hearing this latest chapter in their story. “It warms my heart beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my life,” she said. Peck says she’d worked to teach her children to be kind, telling them you never know how your actions might affect others but she never imagined she’d experience such a stunning example of how truly important an act of kindness can be.

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5 months ago · by · Comments Off on NBA Basketball Star Donates Full Salary to Build Hospital in DR Congo to Honor Father

NBA Basketball Star Donates Full Salary to Build Hospital in DR Congo to Honor Father

NBA star Bismack Biyombo is donating his NBA seasonal salary to build a hospital in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The 29-year-old Phoenix Suns said the donation is in honor of his late father who passed away in 2021. The hospital is being built in their native country and will be named after his father Francois Biyombo .

Biyombo took last season off to care for his sick father, who passed away in August of 2021. Returning to the NBA after a year as a free agent, Biyombo signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Suns two months ago. He announced he will donate the entire $1.3 million value of his contract to the construction of the hospital in his home town in Congo.

Biyombo said he became aware of just how fortunate he was simply to be able to bring his father to the hospital. Biyombo said building the hospital in his father’s name will consolidate his legacy whilst helping those in need back home. The construction will be carried out through the Bismack Biyombo Foundation, which uses the star’s success as an NBA player to help those in the DR Congo.

During the early pandemic, the Foundation delivered $1 million in medical supplies to hospitals across the country. The Foundation focuses on creating initiatives in athletics, education, and health to increase opportunities for children in the DRC:. The foundation’s work has resulted in 185 annually-granted scholarships, 150 higher education opportunities, and helps over a thousand patients every week receive treatment at Congolese hospitals.

“He was my everything — my friend, my business partner, my mentor and everything. This year, to give my father a gift that will continue to service people, my salary for this season will be going towards the construction of a hospital that will be named after my dad back home to give hope to the hopeless and for those individuals that can not take their family out. The idea is to give them better conditions so that they can somewhat have hope that their loved ones could potentially be able to leave and see another day” Biyombo said.

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9 months ago · by · Comments Off on Florida Man Takes Children Without Father Figures On Fishing Excursions

Florida Man Takes Children Without Father Figures On Fishing Excursions

Eleven years ago, William “Big Will” Dunn set out on a mission to help a young child growing up without a father figure. He turned to the one thing that brought him peace as a kid: fishing. Since then, Dunn has dedicated his life to helping foster children and those who are growing up without a father figure by taking them on fishing excursions in Clearwater, Florida, through his nonprofit Take a Kid Fishing Inc.

Dunn has worked with thousands of children as part of the fishing program, but it all started with one very important child: Cameron Delong, who was 8 years old at the time. “I saw this young boy that was frustrated and showed anger. I didn’t know why until I found out his father was not in his life.” Eventually, Dunn approached Delong’s mom and asked if he could take him fishing.

“I knew how special it was when my dad took me,” Dunn said. “Just being out on the water is like being out on another world. I can’t explain it.” Dunn admitted that he had a “rough upbringing in Miami,” but saw fishing as an escape. It was the very thing that “relieved all anxiety and stress that I had built up through the day,” he said. Suddenly, Dunn started to see a positive change in Delong. He started doing better in school, showing more respect to his mom, and “just becoming more of a man of the household because his dad was still not in his life,” Dunn said. “I’d get off of work at 5 and he’d be over the house loading fishing rods in the back of my truck,” Dunn said. “We fished a lot. Two to three days a week plus the weekends.”

After seeing the change in Delong’s life, Dunn said it became his life calling to help other kids that are fatherless. He began reaching out to foster homes and started taking groups of 20 to 25 kids on a fishing charter out of Clearwater, Florida, every Saturday. He did so out of his own pocket. “We take them out, show them a good day and spend time with them and everything,” he said. “Just to get out of the boat you see the difference in them.”

Three years ago, Take a Kid Fishing Inc. formally became a nonprofit, allowing Dunn to accept donations. According to Dunn’s website, the excursions teach children “life skills and responsibility inside and outside of the classroom” such as learning patience, teamwork, and how to relax and avoid making harsh and rash decisions.

The program uses social media and a media campaign to raise awareness of the program on local and statewide levels, and to organize fundraising events to provide funds necessary for operations of the program. “Fishing also teaches them to support each other whether they win or lose (catch a fish or not),” his website says. Over the past 11 years, Dunn says these children have become a part of his family and he continues to go out on the water with Delong, who is now 19 and views Dunn as a father figure.

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Teacher’s “Handle With Care” System Spreading Nationwide

Teacher’s “Handle With Care” System Spreading Nationwide

A teacher in Hutchinson, Kansas, handed out a message to the parents of her students this year and now it’s being shared on social media by educators all over the country. Fourth grade teacher Rachel Harder is being praised for setting up a simple system that gives parents the chance to let her know a child had a particularly challenging evening or morning. They only need to text her the words “handle with care.”

Harder said she came up with the idea after attending a trauma conference a few years ago. “There was a discussion about how police stations across the country have started partnering with schools so that when they have encounters with families in the evenings or on weekends, the police will contact the school – either counselor or administrator – and let them know to handle a student with care since they had encounters with police beforehand.”

The next year, she said, she had a student new to the school who also had autism. Some mornings she struggled to get to school. Harder started using the “handle with care” system with the girl’s mom. “I knew that when she would text me that her daughter needed some extra time and a quiet location, not the gym for morning announcements, so that the rest of her day went smoothly. “It’s important for me to give kids a few minutes of extra time or space – and it’s easy to give,” Harder said.

Harder offers all parents the opportunity to text her with the words “handle with care” if it’s been a particularly rough evening or morning. “I don’t need to know details but parents like that – they know I’m keeping an extra eye on them. I also usually text back and let them know how the morning is going. This gives the kids the grace we all want after a hard night or morning. We all have challenging mornings – we can’t find shoes, backpacks aren’t packed. It’s doing for others what we would like done for us when we have days that are hard” Harder said.

Her idea was valued by many parents and other educators got on board too. Her system is now being shared across the state and nationwide. Stress affects each family differently and kids react to it. It can happen in the morning, in the evening, or even over the weekend. Whenever they go through difficult times it’s a good idea to let their teacher know so they can give them extra help or patience. Harder said a lot of teachers do this without needing a text from parents because they know that kids need time and space and love just by the way they walk in the room. But, a heads-up from parents is wonderful if they can get that.

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Sandler O’Neill Foundation Pays Tuition for Children of Those Lost on 9/11

Sandler O’Neill Foundation Pays Tuition for Children of Those Lost on 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, 66 of the 83 men and women who worked for the investment banking firm Sandler O’Neill & Partners on the 104th floor in the World Trade Center lost their lives. They lost a third of their employees to the attacks on the World Trade Center. The firm quickly set up a foundation to pay the college tuition for the children of those who passed. Twenty years later, now known as Piper Sandler, the firm has two of those children working in their office and following in their father’s footsteps.

So far, 54 young men and women have had their college tuition paid so far, with 22 more still eligible. The 54 who are now attending or have attended college have gone to an array of schools from Stanford to Notre Dame to community colleges and technical institutes. The youngest child eligible was born six weeks after September 11. When that child graduates from college, the Sandler O’Neill Foundation will cease to exist, except as an honorable memory.

In 2001, the investment banking firm had 171 employees and was headquartered in New York City. Eighty three employees worked at the World Trade Center. One third of the firm’s partners, almost the entire equity desk, the entire syndicate desk, and all of the firm’s bond traders died in the attack. Among those lost were Herman Sandler, and Christopher Quackenbush, two of the three senior executives who managed the firm. In the harrowing days following the terrorist attacks, the company made the decision to set up a foundation to pay college tuition for all the 76 children of their fallen colleagues.

Sandler’s surviving partner, Jimmy Dunne set up the foundation along with friends, colleagues and some banking competitors. When asked why he set up the foundation, Dunne said “There was a moment in time to stand up,because we believed that what we did would echo for a hundred years in the families of our people, their kids and their grandkids. Because how we conducted ourselves in those first few hours and days would define who we really were and what we were about. I knew that if we were not honorable, then we stood for nothing.

Dunne’s friend, Andy Armstrong, one of the founders of the foundation said “We were up and running by the end of the first week. We wanted the families of the lost to know that we would always remember, that the passing years would never sweep this under the rug. People donated many millions of dollars to set up the foundation. We have no salaries and no expenses except fees to stay extant. I know most of the children who went to college. You wouldn’t believe some of the letters they have written in appreciation. I think they particularly appreciate that we remember their mom or dad this way. Many of them hardly knew their moms and dads.”

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