Feel Good Friday | Howard Students Spend Spring Break in Flint

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Not every college student is spending spring break in a lounge chair sipping a Mai Tai.

Howard University students (43 to be exact) from D.C. ditched the beach for the Motor City earlier this month.

Not just to visit Motown’s Hitsville studio (how can you pass that up?) but to deliver bottled water to Flint, Michigan residents.

As part of an “alternative spring break,” an HBCU tradition where spring breakers lend a helping hand in and beyond borders; there are 500 HU spring breakers sprinkling goodness in Chicago, St. Louis and Haiti this year, according to ibtimes.

In Flint, the good karma crew visited a Boys and Girls Club to start a garden (Michelle Obama would be so proud.) As well as organize the incoming bottled water donations.

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Earlier this week, the spring breakers helped cook and sort food at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

Followed that up by visiting International Academy Charter School for family science night.

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Most of the HU students spending spring break in Flint are from the Muslim Students Association. The group donated water to Flint, Michigan’s Muslim House and had an interfaith chat to go along with it late last week.

As to why they’re there.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or not tuning into C-SPAN (you should’ve it was popcorn eating, soft-drinking slurping type of viewing this week.) Flint, Michigan’s water has been contaminated due to lead piping and a heavily polluted source stream. Nearly 100,000 black and poor residents have been affected.

Keep track of the do-gooders progress in Flint by following them on Instagram–huasb_flint.

 

Feel Good Friday Roundup

It’s finally Friday and these feel-good-stories are the cherries on top of the end of the week.

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Let’s start with our favorite centenarian–106-year-old Virginia McLaurin–who captured our hearts with her jig of joy upon meeting Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House last month.

Now her newfound fans are making the spry senior smile again by starting a YouCaring fundraising page to change her living situation.

Virginia’s asking for $50K (so far $21,580 has been raised) to move into a ground floor apartment–she currently lives in a walkup–closer to her church, reports Huffington Post.

“She’s determined that she wants to live independently and close to her church,” Virginia’s friend Deborah Menkart told Huffington Post.”So we need to make sure that there are the funds to secure that.”

Pretty safe in assuming Virginia can and will.

A Kansas City Community Kitchen turned their soup kitchen into a restaurant-style serving the homeless.

From 11am to 2pm on weekdays the homeless are greeted by a host and given their food orders by a wait staff.

The menu was even created by an executive chef of a local restaurant that once lived in poverty.

The “dine with dignity” style soup kitchen is meant to change the script on how the homeless is treated.

“We are trying to flip the photo of what a soup kitchen looks like,” Mandy Caruso-Yahne, who runs the kitchen at Episcopal Community Service.

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Finally, rapper Fetty Wap inspired a young fan, Jayden Burgos to embrace his short-sightedness (get it?)

By ditching his prosethetic eye in the style of the Trap Queen rapper.

As a reward Jayden met his idol.

 

 

 

 

 

Feel Good Friday | This Cop Proves Humanity Still Exists

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Here’s something to warm your heart because, Lord knows, we need the sunshine.

At least on the East Coast (Damn you, Cali and your stupid February heat wave.) we got our ray of hope.

Massachusetts police officer Keith Perry received a call from a Walmart store manager–a homeless woman collapsed in the bathroom from hunger.

After paramedics revived the unidentified woman, Perry learned she hadn’t eaten all day, Seekonk Lt. David Dyson told INSIDE EDITION.

Perry helped alleviate that by buying her bread, milk and snacks. The two-year police veteran also doled out dough for a motel room where the woman could ride out one of many New England snow storms.

“Officer Keith Perry is a good guy. That’s just the way he’s made,” Dyson told INSIDE EDITION. “It’s just something he would do.”

If only more cops were like Perry.

Feel Good Friday | Two Chi-Town Brothers Take Road Trip Mission to Flint

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Chi-town brothers La’Mont Williams, 27, and Nate Williams, 20, were so struck (as we all should be!) by the tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan they took a four-hour roadtrip to help.

After filling their wallets with funds from family and friends, the Williams brothers hopped in their car with cases of water riding in the back. This was the motivation:

“These people need help, and it’s not what you see on the news, there is more to it. There is a human element–it’s not a black or white thing–it’s not a rich or poor thing–the city of Flint, no matter where you go people need water, you know?” La’Mont, an attorney, told Fox 32 News. “You can’t go three days without drinking water.”

Not to mention bathing, brushing teeth and cooking. Although I’m sure those in the know (*cough* state govt officials *cough*) last year already prepared for the Flint water crisis. So, I beg to differ on La’Mont’s stance on it not being a race or class issue. And adopt Russell Simmons’ approach: “If this happened in Beverly Hills–first of all they would’ve found out in two minutes, and everybody would’ve been in trouble.”

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Anywho, the Williams brothers arrived in Flint on Saturday and quickly ran out of their clean water supply. But that was a hurdle easily cleared when they made their way to a local Walmart to restock.

The Huffington Post reports the brothers were getting so much H20, store workers thought they were with a charity. Nope, the two-man operation delivered 100 cases of bottled water, just doing their part to help.

“I could not imagine having to live my life one bottle of water at a time,” La’Mont told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m just happy to help.”

Thursday, the Michigan legislature approved $28 million to go towards bottled water and nurses for local schools.

 

Feel Good Friday | Employee of the Month Goes to…

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Ishmael Gilbert! The 19-year-old Target cashier is definitely deserving of the honor after patiently helping an elderly customer pay her total. Counting out quarters, pennies and dimes is time-consuming, especially for the customers waiting (so been there before), but allowed her to take her time.

Plus, and this is a biggie, the Indianapolis res didn’t suck his teeth or roll his eyes while waiting on her. How rare is that form of customer service these days?

Sarah Bigler, the customer waiting in line, did however do those things. But the fact Ishmael didn’t propelled her to snap a pic and post the encounter on Facebook. Garnering 28,937 shares. Bigler shared her initial reaction with FOX59:

I realized that the woman in front of me was taking quite a while, and I realized she was paying with change. I was at first frustrated and irritated thinking of my long day and this unnecessary timeline to get home, and get the kids bathed…and then I stopped for a moment.

In that moment Bigler watched the elderly woman apologize over and over to Ishmael and he kept saying “you’re fine.” And how Bigler’s daughter was watching it all go down lifted her mood.

“I thought this stranger is teaching something I could never teach her.”

Based on the thousands of shares on Facebook, other people too.

“It feels good to be recognized, for good work but this isnt something new,” Ismael told NYDailyNews.

“I treat all customers the same, the way I want to be treated. It felt good because that’s the kind of example I want to be for my daughter.”

 

Feel Good Friday | Mystery Cop

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With so much backlash against the boys in blue lately (Not that it isn’t warranted at times.) it’s refreshing to get a feel good story involving one for a change.

So, I’m dedicating this Friday’s post to an unnamed, unlocated NY cop, who helped give a 58-year-old ex-con the lucky break he needed. Bronx res James Roberts was en route to a job interview at LaGuardia Airport when he got off the wrong stop on the bus. Can’t count on two hands how many times I’ve done this. Just sayin.

After getting a heads-up from his staffing agency that his interview was really in Fresh Meadows, a few miles away from the airport, the hero with a badge offered to drop him.

After getting him there on time, he disappeared. Not waiting around to learn James got the job at a car rental company (Granted he was likely on duty.) Thus, ending his 10 year unemployment gap since being released from prison.

“I’m stunned, there isnt a cop doing anything nice for James Roberts, I got chased for 11 years when I was doing bad,” Roberts told ABC 7 News.

Now that he’s doing good he wants to thank those responsible. Like…whatever the cop’s name is.

“I say Andrews is his last name, for sure his tag has an A and D in it, I seen those initials, and that’s what I remember,”  James tells ABC 7.

Let’s hope the good cop remembers too because it’ll be worth his while.

“I love this guy wherever he’s at, I love this guy,  and I have to see him, I have too.”

The search is on.

Feel Good Friday|Every Girl Deserves This Doll for Christmas

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While I’m partial to the Ava Duvernay dollie–it’s currently on hold for my eight-year-old niece. You would have to be a Scrooge not to appreciate Josilyn Martin-Richardson’s efforts in making sure as many little girls as possible have a Barbie under their tree this year.

Did I mention she is eight?

Josilyn’s aha moment came when she was playing with–you guessed it–a Barbie in a Chicago park. And the girl she was with spilled she didn’t have a Barbie. From that day on Josilyn made it her mission that no other suffered the same fate.

She asked her mom if they could take up a Barbie collection for needy girls. Who could say no to that heartfelt request?

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With the help of her parents, Kellie and Jonathan Richardson, Velvet Lounge in Chicago and Rollingout magazine Josilyn arranged a fundraiser brunch this week. She collected 300 Barbies and $600 towards her goal of 1,000 dolls.

The Barbies collected will be scattered to various orgs around Chi-Town, including LaRabida Children’s Hospital,Lowden Homes, Trumball Park of CHA, Ada S. McKinley Youth Services and University Church in Chicago.

Because “every girl deserves a Barbie.”

Donations can be made by contacting Kellie Martin at kelliec.martin@gmail.com

 

 

Uh, Santa this one has been very, very nice this year.

Feel Good Friday Roundup

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As if the black girl magic of Shanice Williams as Dorothy in NBC’s The Wiz wasn’t enough to put us in a good mood. I woke up humming “Home.” Don’t act like I was the only one. Yeah, I didn’t think so. There are other reasons to slap on the Colgate smile. Yes, really.

Putting the San Bernardino shooting aside (don’t worry, coverage is still streaming on MSNBC, CNN, BBC…) and any other news related to terrorism, racism and other isms meant to harm others. Good things actually happened this week. Seriously.

For one, Ciara and Russell Westbrook gave us new relationship goal material. The adorable couple visited Seattle Childrens Hospital on Wednesday (Russell’s usual weekday haunt) and serenaded sweet little Louis with Feliz Navidad.

How can you not get in the holiday spirit after that.

A college student in Portland created her own unique coat drive. She bought winter coats from Goodwill (for $5) and draped them around light poles in downtown Portland with a note attached: “I am not lost. Please take me if you need me.”

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Gabriella Kaper told ABC News she shared her idea about helping the homeless on social media and others have adopted it. Great timing since ABC News reports Portland is already experiencing the winter chill with below freezing temperatures. And the number of homeless average 200 a night in shelters.

Speaking of the homeless, Carmen Mendez was in a local restaurant last month when a homeless woman dropped in asking for patrons’ scraps of food. While other diners refused, Carmen not only offered her doggy bag, she also paid for the woman’s own meal.

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So overcome with gratitude the woman hugged her. Carmen recalled the emotional moment on her Facebook post.

The look on her face said it all. I have never felt something like this–pure, real gratitude. That hug she gave me was like a hug I had never felt. Those tears she shed were felt deep in my heart.

Cue this heartwarming ballad and my ugly cry.

 

Feel Good Friday | A Boy’s Donation to a Mosque

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Since last week’s terror attacks in Paris, really since 9/11, Muslim Americans have been profiled and targeted as extremists. And with silly season (elections) upon us the fear mongering is at an all time high–looking at you Trump. But, maybe just maybe there’s a solution to weeding out terrorists and not discriminating against Muslims.

Seven-year old Jack showed us there is. When the Austin, Texas res found out a local mosque was vandalized. He broke his piggybank to give them $20 he was saving for an iPad. According to The Daily Dot, Jack felt worshippers needed it more after finding “feces splattered in front of the mosque and torn pages from the Quran.”

Jack’s mom, Laura Swanson took him to drop off the donation at the Islamic Center of Plufgerville to show “what happened in Paris is not what’s happening in Plufgerville,”she told ABC News.

A sentiment Faisal Naeem, the mosque’s board member, appreciates.

“Jack’s $20 is worth $20 million to us because it’s the thought that counts…if we had more kind-hearted kids like them in the world, I have hope for our future.”

Jack’s good deed paid off. An anonymous member of the Muslim American community sent him an iPad with a note:

Dear Jack,
You had saved $20 in your piggybank for an Apple iPad. But then a local Islamic mosque was vandalized. So you donated you $20 to this local Texas mosque. Because of your amazing generosity & kind heart, please enjoy this Applie iPad with our sincere thanks 🙂

Love,
The American Muslim Community 🙂

The Muslim Guy blog posted pics of Jack with his new toy.

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Thanks for the lesson in tolerance and compassion, buddy.

 

 

 

Feel Good Friday | Positivity in a Post-It

When  Caitlin Prater received a nasty note on Facebook urging her to commit suicide, she transformed the negative energy into a campaign of positivity. The Canadian high school student put her school supplies to good use–specifically those Post-Its– by writing uplifting notes on every single locker in George McDougall High.

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The encouraging act was considered litter by McDougall, but after businesses started adopting the Post-It Postivity the town of Airedrie dedicated October 9th Positive Post-It Day. Hooray! Bullies: 1 Caitlyn: Hundreds

You can follow Caitlin’s anti-bullying campaign on Facebook.