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.
In 1995, Lamar Johnson was wrongfully convicted of fatally shooting a man and received a life sentence. A couple of years later, a minister at Ginny Schrappen’s church handed her a letter. It was from Johnson and addressed to anyone who would write back. The two struck up a fast friendship and corresponded constantly for decades while Johnson was in prison, serving time for a murder he didn’t commit.
Johnson always claimed he did not commit the murder. After the Midwest Innocence Project got involved and the real killer confessed, Johnson was exonerated and released from prison at 49 years old. Twenty-eight years later his conviction was overturned. On February 14, 2023, Johnson was released from prison at 49 years old.
He spent the next few weeks doing all the things he couldn’t do in prison, including traveling to see one of his best friends for the very first time. Johnson went to Schrappen’s house for the first time, where she greeted him with a warm welcome. She gave him a tour, a box of his favorite cereal and one last letter.
Johnson said that the greatest gift, though, is the confidence his friend instilled in him and it’s inspired him to serve a life of friendship. Johnson said that Schrappen’s belief is what helped him get through nearly 30 years of injustice. “Especially when somebody is innocent, you want someone to believe in you. Because when you have people who believe in you and they won’t give up on you, then it makes it harder for you to give up on yourself” he said.
In 2018, a homeless man found a check for $10k and his only thoughts were returning it to its rightful owner. Because of his good deed, he was rewarded with a chance at a whole new life. Elmer Alvarez had been living on the streets of New Haven, CT for several years battling addiction. The unexpected death of his brother from a heart attack spurred him into a dark spiral of addiction and crime.
Having finally kicked his addiction, he never considered keeping the check despite still living on the streets. Alvarez said “It never crossed my mind because I made a decision to turn my life over. I’d been clean for three years. I was just thinking about how that person was feeling by losing an amount of a check like that, an amount of money like that. I’d be feeling kind of desperate.” It turns out that the check belonged to real-estate broker Roberta Hoskie.
Luckily for Elmer, Roberta was full of compassion for his situation due to her own experience with homelessness as a teenage mother. “He didn’t know whose name was on the check, he didn’t know that at one point I was a single mother, I was at one point on welfare, and at one point found myself homeless” Hoskie said.
She offered him a reward for returning the check, which brought tears to Elmer’s eyes. Roberta also offered Elmer a place to live, paying his rent for seven months, and had him attend her real estate school for free. Hoskie said she was in awe of his actions. “There needs to be more people like Elmer Alvarez, he’s a golden heart guy, he’s a phenomenal guy.”
Years later, Alvarez is able to support himself as a realtor and is on the board of directors of Outreach Foundation, a non-profit Hoskie started to help with housing and resources for homeless teens and young adults. Hoskie also wrote a book- “Poverty Curse Broken: The Roberta Hoskie Story” with the hopes of inspiring others to break the poverty cycle.
Students at Glen Lake Elementary School in Minnesota raised $300,000 for a new disability-friendly playground. Some students in Betsy Julien’s fifth-grade class took note of the complete lack of playground equipment, such as a wheelchair merry-go-round or swings that kept students with disabilities from joining in on the fun of recess.
Students Wyatt Feucht and Rhys Riley believed that every student deserved the chance to have fun during recess, so they asked their teacher why the school couldn’t buy the equipment themselves. Ms Julien explained that it was expensive, with an estimated cost of $300,000. The pair made a mission to raise money for a disability-inclusive playground.
They began collecting spare change, held a bake sale, printed flyers, and went door-to-door to raise money. They even reached out to local businesses and restaurants, asking them to donate a portion of their profits. The students’ hard work continued for several months, with support from the Glen Lake Parent Teacher Organization, until they finally reached their goal- raising the $300,000 needed.
Hall of Famer John Randle and current special teams ace Josh Metellus were on hand at Glen Lake Elementary School on Wednesday as part of a rally for students that are raising money for playground equipment to allow some of their classmates to better participate in some of the outdoor activities. The fundraiser originally had a goal of $300,000, but is now over $700,000 with the goal having moved all the way to $1,000,000.
Their teacher Betsy Julien said “My future as an adult is bright knowing that this generation of students, of changemakers, sees something that needs fixing, and they go for it headfirst.” Now the class has set a new goal: to buy adaptive playground equipment for other schools in the district. Their fundraising efforts can be found at: https://www.glenlakepto.org/glen-lake-accessibility-project
A Kenyan high school teacher is using old laptop batteries to turn petrol-powered bikes into electric ones. Paul Waweru, a Physics teacher based in Nairobi, is turning second-hand electronics destined to become waste products into something useful. Waweru said he had to import an electric bike but the bike didn’t last long which prompted him to get innovative.
He buys old batteries that can cost as little as 0.50 Kenyan shillings, which he then cannibalizes for the cells that still can hold a decent charge. Once he has enough battery cells, he configures them into battery packs to replace the internal combustion engines of existing scooters and bikes.
A full charge on the laptop battery pack is around 60 miles and it can fully charge in 45 minutes for less than half the cost of a full tank of fuel. He founded a company called Ecomobilus which sells Ecomobilus bikes. They require zero maintenance because there are no mechanical parts that need to be repaired.
Many African cities are choked with air pollution, especially during the dry seasons, and some are seeing electric bikes as the perfect solution to quickly and effectively improve on this vital issue. Ecomobilus Bikes are now being used by many couriers and delivery drivers as a cost effective solution to the air pollution problems.
An 8 year-old Arkansas boy started a GoFundMe for his favorite Waffle House waiter after finding out he was living in a motel. Kayzen Hunter’s mom Vittoria Hunter said they started going to breakfast at their local Waffle House in Little Rock just about every other weekend and her son would always talk about how much he liked the waiter, Devonte Gardner.
For Gardner, the feeling is mutual. He would greet Kayzen with a high five and always remembered his usual order -scrambled eggs with cheese, no toast, hash browns covered with cheese and an Arnold Palmer. Gardner says “He’s a wonderful kid. He tells me jokes every time he comes in, like, ‘Hey, Devonte, I got a joke for you,’ and the next thing you know, we’re laughing,” he adds.
Vittoria said “As we started to go more and more and we met Devonte, we realized he’s just really a light in the world. It got to the point where we always would sit in his section, he’s so smiley, he’s always like, ‘Hey, Kayzen, how are you?’” One day, Kayzen learned that Gardner had moved into a motel 8 months earlier because his daughters were getting sick from black mold in their apartment and the heat stopped working. The move meant he had to hold off on buying a car.
Vittoria said “He came home and said ‘Hey, Mom, Devonte walks or gets a ride to work and I’m gonna start a GoFundMe,’” Hunter said he begged her for a while to do the GoFundMe before she agreed to take the plunge. The initial idea was to raise enough money to help Gardner buy a car so the original goal was to raise a modest amount of $500 for Gardner. They posted the GoFundMe titled “Help Devonte get a family car” on Feb. 18. Though the Hunters say the GoFundMe started out slow, after passing the initial goal they decided to raise it to $5,000.
As the GoFundMe gained more attention, the amount raised skyrocketed to over $100,000. Gardner just signed a lease on a two-bedroom apartment and plans to get a minivan but will save the rest of the money for his kids. Gardner said Kayzen is a positive kid with a huge heart and he’s thankful he came into his life. Vittoria said “I think so many people spend a lot of energy complaining about what they don’t like but if you just be positive, then you know eventually love and positivity is gonna prevail. It always does.” Kayzen’s father Korey Hunter said “‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’ right? We know who we are as people and we know the potential of what our children can be.”
A Louisiana man says an encounter while grocery shopping changed his outlook on the world. Jason Boudreaux was chatting with another shopper, Kevin Jones, while waiting in the checkout line. When he went to pay for his $30 worth of groceries, his card was declined. Jones immediately stepped up to help.
Boudreaux shared the story in a now-viral post on Facebook with the story of the kind act he experienced while out grabbing groceries. “Much respect for this young gentleman,” Boudreaux wrote in the post with a photo of him and Jones. Boudreaux explained that he had deposited his payroll check an hour prior to the photo thinking his check would have cleared and the money would appear in his account.
“This lil gentleman said I got you,” wrote Boudreaux. “I said no you don’t you probably didn’t hear the price. He responded yes Sir I did, and I got you. I scrambled to my car to give him my business card, so I can repay him. He said no problem, but it is a problem to me owing money to anyone. But the point of this is the dude just stepped up for a complete stranger, he should be recognized” Boudreaux wrote.
Boudreaux also said he intended to pay Jones back but in the ensuing excitement over the act of kindness, didn’t even get Jones’ name. Thankfully, a mutual friend saw his Facebook post and connected them. After getting in touch with him, Boudreaux invited Jones and his wife over for “Family Day,” a weekly event held by Boudreaux’s parents. While over at the house, word got out that it was Jones’ 28th birthday, so Boudreaux and the other attendees improvised a “cake” of sorts to commemorate the day.
Jones, a truck driver, said “Coming from where I come from in Louisiana, it’s not a very wealthy town. I know that feeling so not having the right amount of funds to pay for groceries, I know that feeling. I see a lot of people going through that, and not a lot of people are willing to make a sacrifice and step up and help the next person.”
Jones says, after he paid Boudreaux’s bill, he went on with his day, not expecting anything in return, not even telling his wife Marissa about the exchange until he received several calls and messages about the man wanting to return the favor made its way to him. Boudreaux and Jones keep in touch via text and have future plans for Family Days and weekend outings. Boudreaux says he describes their friendship more like brothers and that Jones is one of the most sincere souls he’s ever met.
In a story that sounds like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, a Philadelphia surgeon ran about a mile to and from a hospital to pick up a liver for his patient after a courier’s route was blocked by thousands of marathon runners. Charles Rowe, 66, was waiting on an operating table with his surgeon Adam Bodzin, scheduled for a life saving liver transplant. Meanwhile, an out-of-town van driver for Philly-based Gift of Life Donor Program found his route to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital would be blocked by the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon at two separate points.
Event organizers and police have access points for emergencies going towards the hospital, but the courier couldn’t find them even after consulting police. When Bodzin heard about the delay he decided to get the liver himself. Clad in sneakers and teal scrubs, Bodzin weaved his way at a full run from the hospital entrance through the stream of runners.
Reaching the driver and taking the sealed container with the liver on ice, he zigzagged back the same way before hitching a ride with the police back to the hospital on the other side of the marathon route. Thanks to Bodzin’s quick thinking, they managed to transplant the liver successfully, an hour after the time when the liver begins to deteriorate.
Rowe made a full recovery and left the hospital 6 days later and considers Bodzin a hero. “He went beyond the call of duty. I guess he’s got a cape underneath that white jacket” Rowe said. When asked about his hero status he modestly said he would describe himself as “more of a biker” and he hopes the story inspires people to become organ donors.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl spent over 24 hours volunteering at an LA shelter preparing barbecue for hundreds of homeless people. Grace Ancheta, director of development at Hope the Mission said brisket, pork butt, ribs and more were delivered to Hope the Mission’s Trebek Center in Northridge, California on Feb. 22.
Grohl arrived around 3pm and worked away cutting up and preparing the meat for the smoker to be served for dinner at 6pm on Feb 23. Once the meat was ready to be put in the smoker at midnight, Grohl and his fellow barbecuers took turns smoking the meat overnight — even as a major winter storm moved through Southern California, dumping hail and rain on the shelter that night.
Once the meat was ready at 3pm, Grohl helped prepare and served hundreds. Ancheta said Grohl was very gracious, taking pictures with people who recognized him. “He wanted no glory for it, he was like, ‘I just want to do this for you guys and give back in that way” Ancheta said. Grohl told staffers at Hope the Mission he finds getting into the barbecue pit therapeutic after he comes offstage.
“Whenever he comes off of work or anything else, that’s what he wants to do,” Ancheta says. “He wants to cook for people. And by the way — it was amazing. It’s the best barbecue we’ve had.” Grohl’s visit came as Hope the Mission’s CEO Ken Craft and president and CFO Rowan Vansleve are running 350 miles across the desert from the Las Vegas Strip back to Los Angeles to raise money for the mission’s latest campaign. Vansleve posted a video Grohl sent to support the “All in for Housing” campaign. “Keep it up, we’ve been out here all night cooking, you got to get back here soon, because we’re all in” Grohl said in the video.
Teens from the Boys and Girls Club of Boston (BGCB) Ready to Work program were given free laptops as part of a collaboration between AT&T and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. The 250 laptop giveaway was part of BGCB’s Ready-to-Work program, which helps high school club members focus on employment opportunities through personal mentoring, resume design workshops, job fairs, interview training and other opportunities to prepare for employment opportunities.
AT&T has given each member a free laptop Courtesy of Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. The 10-year-old program consists of nine clubs spanning 22 of Boston’s 23 boroughs. As students received laptops from the school for online classes, Ready to Work began to take shape to provide club members with a way to virtually prepare for employment opportunities.
As students returned to full-time classroom instruction, schools began reclaiming laptops, making it difficult for many high school students to access the Internet and participate in Ready to Work. As in person classes resumed, many teens lost access to many online resources and AT&T wanted to fix that lack in access to technology. The surprise took place at Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, where 140 club members attended a teenage careers fair before receiving their laptops. The remaining 110 members who could not attend also received their laptops after the event.
AT&T Atlantic Region President John Emra said in a statement “Our AT&T employees are committed to giving back to the Boston communities where they live, work and play. These great kids are the future of our city, our economy and our company. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them and for the life changing work of Robert Lewis and everyone else at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.”