Writing on happiness is by far my favorite part of this blog. Happiness was always my central topic when Happy Friday started; however, I found that writing strictly on happiness, and not paying attention to pressing social justice issues that we have the power to impact, did not attract much of an audience. There is a lot of good going on in the world, and below are three examples of just that.
Inclusion and wanting to be accepted is a major part of our society. As the Special Olympic World Games open this weekend in Los Angeles, actress and spokesperson Brooklyn Decker shares what this event is all about: "I think one of the fundamental human qualities we need to work on is inclusion. That's simply what Special Olympics is all about. Inclusion, awareness, physical well-being and education. Not only has Special Olympics inspired me over the years, but it has introduced me to such a level of openness and compassion. I can only hope everyone gets a chance to witness it." One major push the Special Olympics have focused on is their campaign Spread the Word to End the Word. "Our campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions." I truly love that last sentence. Acceptance starts with language and how we think of others, then our attitudes towards people change, and with that change comes a difference in our actions.
I'm a little late with this one, but for those of you that didn't see the picture of nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera doing homework under the lights of a McDonalds, check it out. Once a college student posted the image to Facebook (it was shared over 7,000 times), donations started pouring in for the young boy. This included money for school, supplies, and a college scholarship. His mother was stunned and ecstatic with all of the support, and since his father died last year, she had a hard time supporting Daniel. "He is a very studious and determined boy... He would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give," Espinosa told the AFP. Now Daniel has the tools to succeed, all because people around the world showed compassion and wanted to do something to provide a better learning environment for him. 👍👏 (Yes, those are emojis and I just figured out how to use them with my Mac! 👌)
Speaking of a better learning environment, JetBlue donated vending machines full of books to a Washington D.C. neighborhood. According to the Huffington Post: "As part of a program to promote summer reading in underserved communities, the airline has installed free book vending machines in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood, that has limited access to reading resources, according to a press release." Three vending machines were placed in the area, with one going to a church, a grocery store, and a Salvation Army. The area is designated as a "book desert" since many children do not have adequate access to books. In areas across the country, this is a real problem. JetBlue's efforts are commendable and provide students with the power of a good story. (Also, it gives them a chance to step away from technology.) I know I will share this story with my students the moment they gripe about their summer reading assignment.
"Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world. No matter what you look like."