Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Nomad's Good News Round-Up for December 2017

by Nomad

Winter Scene

We have literally been bombarded by bad news for the past year. Well, not literally but it seems like it sometimes.
Sometimes it feels like things are just out of control and headed for some dark and vaguely-terrifying place. It's too easy to retreat and say "To hell with it."
Speaking from experience, I know there are moments when throwing yourself on the bed and cowering under the blanket seems like the only solution left. Surrender is, however, not an option for people who actually care about the future.
So I keep hoping.

Anyway, that's why I devote every month to boosting the morale of the community. Here's this month's installment.

Justice or Misguided Pity?

American novelist, poet, environmental activist Wendell Berry has said:
Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.
Too often we associate justice with retribution and forget that justice can also be an expression of clemency and sympathy to all parties. Here's a story that reminds us that sometimes "mercy has a human heart and pity, a human face."

Of course, it was not a universally welcome decision. The sympathy of the jury for the young pregnant woman accused of theft was contrasted by the anger of the plaintiff in the court. Lisa Copeland was outraged  at the verdict (as well as the further outpouring of goodwill) She said that the jury was "basically saying it’s okay to steal.”
Her husband agreed:
“People are coming here because there is opportunity here. But when they come here and commit crimes, that’s where you’ve got to draw the line.”
There was curiously no mention of the fact that undocumented and low-wage laborer was illegally hired by a house-cleaning company (and through it), by the Copelands.

One Child's Charity Rewarded

Three years ago, when Ohioan Mikah Frye was six, he and his family were faced with hard times. Financial problems had forced the family into an emergency shelter. The loss of a home (and most of what you own) can be a traumatic experience for anybody, but especially when you are a kid. For Mikah, the impact of those hard times clearly opened his eyes to what it felt like to be poor.

It all started with a simple question. Frye asked his grandmother what the homeless did when it was frigid outside. She didn't know but she asked Mikah if he would like to exchange one of his Christmas presents to buy just one blanket. Mikah thought that was not enough. So he surrendered his prized Xbox One (presumably an S) gift for more than 60 blankets.
His grandmother pointed out:
“He knew what it was like to not have a blanket at night and have to give it back,”
The story of early selflessness caught the attention Microsoft executives. They reached out to Mikah's family and arranged for them to pick up a brand-new X-box, along with other gifts to go along with it.
Even though it was not necessary in Mikah's case, sometimes good deeds really ought to be rewarded.

Twenty More Just Like Mikah

Based on the next story, it's clear that Mikah isn't alone.  The Mother Nature Network recently highlighted the efforts of 20 other young people who have decided that they can begin helping those in need now. It makes no sense to wait until they are adults.

There's 15-year-old Alexa Grabelle. When she was 10 years old, she created the nonprofit Bags of Books to get books into the hands of kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them. Since then, the organization she founded has distributed more than 120,000 children's books to schools, homeless shelters, and children's hospitals.

For Jahkil Jackson, the impulse to help others began at the time he became aware of the world. According to bio, Jackson begged his parents to give money to the homeless people they passed on their local Chicago streets. This led to assisting his aunt distributing food at a local shelter, and eventually, Jahkil came up with a bright idea.  
He founded Project I Am and creates what he calls "Blessing Bags," filled with snacks, toiletries, a towel and socks and began to distribute them to the homeless people in his community.
For the homeless, Blessing Bags are a lifeline to some degree of normalcy. More than more than 3,000 Blessing Bags in Chicago have been distributed and Jahkil's ambition is to distribute 5,000 by the end of this year.

Some might say that Riley Callen was not dealt a good hand in life. Throughout her childhood, she underwent three separate surgeries on her brain to remove two benign brainstem-based tumors. These life-saving operations have left Riley permanently affected.
She could have easily turned inward and turned bitter. However, Callen decided that this would not be her course. She instead focused on raising money to raise awareness and support benign brain tumor research.
Through her nonprofit organization, Be Brave For Life, Riley organizes an annual Hike-A-Thon through the fall foliage on the trails near her home in rural Vermont. Riley set a goal to raise $10,000 her first year. She raised $100,000. The next year, she hit $150,000. In all, Riley has raised more than $265,000 toward benign brain tumor research.
Those are just three of the 20 stories of the newest generation's good works.
I invite you to spend 10 minutes of your time reading about their efforts. I guarantee it will leave you feeling much better about the current direction of humanity.

That's it for this month. That's all the good news I have to share with you. Keep the faith, my friends, and don't let your frustration get the best of you.
And I mean that literally.