Woman Takes On Third Job At Nursing Home to Care For Her Mother

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Janie Kasse has had a ritual for several years. Every weekend, she would visit her mom’s assisted living facility and take her out for the day. They would go out shopping or eat at a restaurant, but regardless, they’ll always spend that day together.  

That was not the only time during the week she’ll see her mom, Carol Chesser. Janie often visited her a few times during the week just to chat.

But that all changed recently, as the assisted living facility, in a countrywide effort, had to close its doors to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her mother’s spirits were low

On New Year’s Eve in 1976, Carol suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, when Janie was just a baby. While Carol did learn how to speak and walk again after the injury, she was never able to read or write like before. Additionally, her memory skills had taken a blow.

She definitely knows who I am and knows my name for sure, but everyone else there, she could not tell them their name. She does not know people she sees every day.

Janie Kasse to Good Morning America

Janie heard that her mom was having a hard time with the changes at the facility, including the new rule stipulating that the residents had to stay in their rooms.

“She’s incredibly social,” Janie said of her mother. “She was getting really moody and angry and depressed, but the staff would tell me that if my mom talked to me on the phone she was happier and she would listen to me.”

So Janie had an idea

So, Janie had an idea that would allow her to see her mom. She decided to get a job at the facility. She first tried to apply as a volunteer, but was told that it wasn’t possible. But then, she was given another offer from an administrator.

She said she had a job opening for a hospitality aide and would that be something I was interested in. I said yes. There really wasn’t an option.

Janie Kasse

Janie already has a busy schedule, working two jobs as an office manager at a financial services firm and an events coordinator for a local nonprofit organization. But now she’s added 15 to 30 hours a week at Windsor Ridge, the assisted-living facility.

She has managed it by working from home for her other two jobs and limiting her exposure to only her home and Windsor Ridge in order to protect herself and the residents.

“I deliver meals and I play games with the residents,” she said. “One of the residents asked me what I do there and I said, ‘I bring dinner and joy.’ Basically anything they ask me to do, I do.”

Seeing her mother is worth it

Janie has been able to see her mother on a regular basis but it hasn’t been easy. “To see her energy deplete right before your eyes is heartbreaking,” she said. “I keep telling mom that we just want her to be alive at the end of this thing.”

I try really hard to make sure she knows I’m there and knows that I’m not going anywhere and knows that when all of this is said and done, we’ll do our shopping trips again.

Janie Kasse

Because Janie has always visited Windsor Ridge so often, the other residents already knew who she was. And they are grateful for her presence too.

“She’s got such a bubbly personality, and that’s very comforting to other residents, to see her and be around her,” Melissa Prenatt, Windsor Ridge’s administrator-in-training, told Good Morning America.

It’s made a world of difference to have Janie here.

Melissa Prenatt

Janie has been “doing a lot of one-on-one games with the residents that are keeping them active.” But most importantly, she has been an emotional comfort to them.

If she’s delivering a tray or something for dinner and she sees one is kind of down, she’ll go back after dinner and ask if they want to take a walk.

Melissa Prenatt

To her, it’s an honor to be able to help

Yes, seeing her mother is a definite perk of her new job but Janie also feels incredibly thankful to be a part of the effort against the pandemic.

The staff there are working so hard. I’m just amazed by the amount of love and care and concern and how many hours they’re working to keep everybody alive.

Janie Kasse

Her incredible efforts remind us of the importance to find ways to stay connected with each other–now more than ever. The more vulnerable people need us more than ever.

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Childhood Sweethearts Got Engaged After Spending More Than 13 Years Apart

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Puppy love is often seen as sweet and cute, but it usually does not last forever. These very early crushes at school usually don’t translate to the lifelong relationships but they are rarely forgotten.

Yet, sometimes, childhood crushes can come back into your life in the most unexpected ways. This was the case of Beth Fenwick and Steven Lyons from Sommerset, who first started dating when they met at the age of 11 in secondary school.

Many years later, they found their way back to each other and fell in love all over again.

She wrote about him in her journal

Back in 2009 was the beginning of Beth and Steven’s love story. Although they probably believed in enduring love, like most children do, they never expected that their future selves would reconnect down the road.

Beth even found some diary entries that she wrote at the time, talking about her relationship with Steven.

“I recently found some diary extracts from 2009 where I have explained how I was in a relationship with Steven, which are really funny to look back on,” she told Daily Mail.

This is what the adorable journal entry said:

I suppose I should tell you that I am going out with Steven. We started going out a few weeks ago. The same week he bought me pink roses! He is the first boy to ever buy me flowers.

Beth Fenwick to Daily Mail

But at the time, it was not meant to be. After school was over, Steven, who works in IT, moved to Australia. Both went on to date other people, as life took its course.

Years later though, the two reconnected on Facebook.

 They fell in love…again

Beth was first to find Steve on Facebook. “I initiated a conversation after I noticed he’d gone traveling which is something I’d always wanted to do.”

But what really brought them together was Beth’s health scare. She had found a growth and at the time, was nervously awaiting the results. As it turned out, it was only a benign tumor.

Steven was so supportive and stayed up at all hours to talk to me despite the vast time difference. I didn’t expect anything to come from it, but we quickly became inseparable and we began talking every single day.

Beth Fenwick to Daily Mail

That challenging period strengthened their connection but what Steven would do next convinced Beth that it was the real deal.

Steven was due to continue his travels to Japan but he came back to our hometown instead. My tumor was benign, but it gave me a real push to not hold back in life as anything can happen.

Beth Fenwick

Steven proposed during that visit in August 2019, and they are now planning their wedding for 2021.

Steven always knew he wanted to be with Beth

What makes their story even more touching is that, for Steven, it was love at first sight. Yes, he had always hoped they’d ultimately end up together.

I had my heart set on Beth the first moment I saw her.

Steven Lyons to Daily Mail

“It’s not often that you hear about people marrying those they went to school which makes us feel even luckier to have found each other again,” he admitted.

Their loved ones could not be happier. “Our families think it’s really cute too as we’ve known each other practically our whole lives,” Beth said.

Love can always surprise you

“I never imagined things would progress into this,” Steven revealed. While they had initially planned on marrying in 2020, the ongoing pandemic put a dent in their plans. Instead, they’ll be tying the knot next year.

Beth too cannot seem to believe her own story.

I’d always wanted a fairytale ending but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me.

Beth Fenwick

Steven and Beth prove that love can and will always surprise you when you least suspect it. So even if you might have given up on finding the right person, it’s worth keeping yourself open to the possibility of being surprised. You never know.

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Healthcare Workers Wear Pictures of Themselves on Protective Suits To Connect With Patients

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Doctors and nurses are undoubtedly the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting themselves at personal risk to save our loved ones. They have to wear crucial protective gear as they fight this virus, much like soldiers going into battle, and an obvious side effect of that is that their faces remain covered for their entire shifts.

This means that their patients don’t get to see the face of the people who are caring for them–an experience that can feel very alienating, especially with the additional worries of the illness itself. Not being able to see who is administering your treatment or to recognize one worker from the next can add to the overall stress.

One healthcare worker pondered that question and came up with a creative solution to remedy the situation and make the patient’s experience a little more reassuring.

A smile and friendly face can do wonders

San Diego respiratory therapist Robertino Rodriguez had a desire to do something a little different. He knew the protective gear was imperative, but he found a way to show himself through it, literally!

Yesterday I felt bad for my patients in ER when I would come in the room with my face covered in PPE. A reassuring smile makes a big difference to a scared patient.

Robertino Rodriguez

So Robertino made a laminated badge, a picture of himself with a beaming smile, that he could wear on top of his protective suit. On the photo on his uniform, Rodriguez wears a suit and tie and a beaming smile, a great way to remind people there’s a human underneath that mask and gear.

“One thing health care workers do to make our patients feel at ease is to reassure them with our smiles but now that we have to wear masks, we are unable to do this,” he told The Huffington Post.

A smile goes a long way in comforting a scared patient ― bringing some brightness in these dark times.

Robertino Rodriguez to The Huffington Post

Soon, other doctors and nurses followed his lead

Robertino’s simple, but clever idea started a whole movement. Soon enough, other healthcare followed his lead and printed their own pictures to stick on their protective gear.

“I didn’t have a preprinted photo or a color printer so my polaroid will have to do,” Peggy Ji, an ER doctor in Los Angeles, wrote on Instagram.

“These patients come in with a cough, shortness of breath, or fever and the question on their minds and everyone’s mind is, ‘Do I have COVID?’” Peggy said.

Putting herself in their shoes, she realized how intimidating and frightening the whole ordeal could be from their perspective.

I can only imagine how intimidating it is seeing a team of nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors entering their room in full PPE gear, on top of everything else.

Peggy Ji

A photo, she said, helps patients “connect a human and a smile to the walking spacesuit and masks in front of them.”

Another doctor adapted her suit for children

Another doctor who works in a pediatric ward in São Paulo, Brazil, got a little whimsical with her photo, adding Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” to her badge.

As a pediatrician, she works with children and wanted to find a way to help them through their stay at the hospital. A Disney character was surely going to help them through it.

It’s so easy to feel scared and alone in the face of so much sickness and uncertainty. And, with patients often unable to see their loved ones as they are hospitalized, a little bit of personal touch by the people trying to keep them alive goes a long way.

Robertino and all the other healthcare workers have proven the selflessness behind their work. Not only do they want to help patients get better, they also want to make them feel comfortable throughout it all.

More inspiring stories:

This Child Abuse Survivor Has Scary Bikers To Thank For Her Recovery

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

There’s no crime that upsets society more than abuse against our most vulnerable people –-children. Child abuse is the most heinous and vile of acts; that’s why it unifies people from all different backgrounds when it comes to fighting against it.

An unlikely but no less impactful advocate for children who are victims of abuse is BACA, an international organization which stands for Bikers Against Child Abuse.

The organization regroups bikers who have joined the fight against child abusers. This is how they protect the victims.

The organization’s sole purpose is to make kids feel safe

The nonprofit organization was started over 20 years ago by John Paul Lily who is simply known within BACA as “Chief”. Lily saw a tremendous amount of abuse and suffering in the world and thought the first and most effective step towards helping and building these kids back up was to make them feel confident again.

So, Chief organized a band  of his friends –-in this case, a group of burly bikers to step up and do exactly that by forming an unbreakable pact with these kids.

Every biker who wants to join BACA has to go through a thorough vetting process, which takes at least a year. Since the commitment is 24/7, every single member is fully committed to the protection of the child.

Level 1: Getting introduced to their protectors

Bikers who are part of BACA have various levels of operation in ensuring that these kids feel safe. The first level involves meeting up with the child. Once they meet with their protege, the latter will become part of this protected pack where they feel comfortable and safe.

The child will then get their own biker jacket, a BACA patch and the phone numbers of their new biker friends that they can call 24/7. They also take pictures with the bikers, which they will get to keep as a reminder that they have friends looking out for them.

The level one is probably something that is the most empowering part of what we do because we see a huge change in these children. After about 40-45 minutes, those kids are interacting with our members. In some areas, they go for rides with the membership. They take them on a short ride around the neighborhood.

Pipes, International President

On the second level of operation, the bikers will do “awareness rides” around the neighborhood to make people aware of the presence of abusers. They will also contact law enforcement if they detect suspicious activity.

Level 3 intervention: the courthouse

A big part of stopping an abuser is to make sure they face the repercussions of their actions and go to jail. However, getting to that point is not always easy, since a lot of it depends on the child feeling safe enough to denounce the abuser.

Kids can speak out against those who’ve hurt them but they can only do so if they feel safe and confident, which is exactly where BACA steps in.

Positive Thoughts for The Ron Project

It can seem even more impossible for them to go to a courthouse and testify in front of a judge and jury. That’s where the Bikers step in: they will be there to back them up 100%, so long as the judge will allow it.

Helping the vulnerable is for everyone

No child should have to live in fear. Those who have unfortunately gone through abuse need to rebuild the strength and confidence to take them through the horrible experience and into the next, hopefully happier phase of their lives.

It can take someone pretty intimidating to intimidate an abuser and a bunch of burly bikers can be exactly what it takes to make a child feel safe. It also teaches kids to not judge a book by a cover. These “scary” bikers turn out to be the least scary guys of all…especially if they are standing behind you!

And the effect is lifechanging.

You see them after we get involved and their self-confidence is beaming and they are doing better at school. And you know, they’re not afraid anymore. And that’s what we do, we give them their life back.

Tree, International President 2006-2008

If BACA can teach us anything, it’s that we can all take action when it comes to standing behind children who are victims of abuse, no matter our background or what we look like.

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Millionaire CEO Gets Wake-Up Call, Gives $70,000 Minimum Wage To All Employees

By | Featured, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

It’s hard for a lot of people to get by. Many have to work two jobs to make ends meet. When this millionaire boss was confronted with the reality of some people’s lives, he immediately decided to take action.

The minimum wage laws are a big part of it, and Dan Price recently caused a media firestorm after he established a $70,000 minimum wage at his Seattle company, Gravity Payments….and the experiment that really paid off.

Dan’s family struggled financially. When he was a teenager, he started Gravity Payments, which offers credit card processing and financial services. By the age of 31, Dan was already a millionaire. His company was worth millions of dollar and he had been making personal earnings of $1.1 million per year.

What moved him to make this change?

It all started in 2011 when Jason Haley, a phone tech earning about $35,000 a year at Gravity, was feeling stressed out. Dan Price, who has always been attentive to his employees noticed his trouble.

“Seems like something’s bothering you,” he said. “What’s on your mind?”

“You’re ripping me off,” Haley told him.

Dan was shocked at the outburst.

“Your pay is based on market rates,” Dan told his employee. “If you have different data, please let me know. I have no intention of ripping you off.”

“The data doesn’t matter”, Haley responded. “I know your intentions are bad. You brag about how financially disciplined you are, but that just translates into me not making enough money to lead a decent life.”

Price walked away shocked. 

I felt horrible. Like a victim.

Dan Price to Inc.

He had always prided himself on treating employees well at Gravity,  and he was shocked to learn he wasn’t. 

But instead of feeling bad, he took action

Dan ultimately decided that his employee was right. He thought about it for a while and came to a radical decision. “I was so scarred by the recession that I was proactively, and proudly, hurting my staff,” he says.

Most people live paycheck to paycheck. So how come I need 10 years of living expenses and you don’t?

Dan Price

That’s when Dan started to fight income inequality, and change how he did business. For the next three years, he handed out 20 percent annual raises.

But it all came to an ultimate decision this year, when he resolved that he will phase in a minimum wage of $70,000 at Gravity. In order to do so, he immediately cut down his own salary from $1.1 million to $70,000 to help fund it.

I just decided I’m gonna do $70,000,” he says. “I don’t care if I have to stop paying myself or I have to work 20 hours a day. I’m going to do it.

Dan Price

The effect has been life changing for some of his employees, with some of them able to move closer to work, pay for their kids’ schooling and repair their cars.

Even the backlash couldn’t deter him

Price has since moved the dialogue across the landscape of the business world and is getting a lot of attention for it. While his radical decision has brought a lot of backlash–from shareholders, other businesses that feel like the decision made them look bad and even employees who felt slighted that new hires would have such a high salary–he has no plans to back down.

As he told Inc., “he has sold all his stocks, emptied his retirement accounts, and mortgaged his two properties — including a $1.2 million home with a view of Puget Sound — and poured the $3 million he raised into Gravity.”

To Dan, making this decision was a moral imperative.

I want the scorecard we have as business leaders to be not about money, but about purpose, impact, and service. I want those to be the things that we judge ourselves on.

Dan Price to Inc.

His impact has been wider than his own employees

Dan’s employees returned the favor by surprising him with a Tesla, as a thank you gesture for his radical decision. But his impact has been larger than his employees.

The CEO of PharmaLogics, Megan Driscoll decided to follow his lead by “employees pay by 33 percent – from $37,500 to $50,000 a year,” after having attended one of Dan’s talks. Dan’s story is proof that making a significant change in the world only needs to start with oneself. The rest will follow by example.

More uplifting stories:

Man Buys $6 Million Super Bowl Ad To Pay Back the Heroes Who Saved His Dog

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, heartwarming, news, stories, uplifting news

Anyone who has lost a pet knows how hard it can be, so it’s easy to understand why when David MacNeil’s 7-year-old golden retriever, Scout, was given a month to live, he refused to accept it.

Scout collapsed suddenly in the summer of 2019. MacNeil rushed his beloved dog to the vet, where a tumor was found growing on Scout’s heart. After diagnosing Scout with an aggressive form of cancer, a veterinarian told MacNeil his dog had just one month to live, according to NBC Madison, Wisconsin affiliate WMTV.

There he was in this little room, standing in the corner… and he’s wagging his tail at me. I’m like, ‘I’m not putting that dog down. There’s just absolutely no way.

David MacNeil to WMTV

He refused to give up on his dog

Local vets told MacNeil there was no hope for Scout, but MacNeil refused to accept that fate for his furry friend.

Seeking help elsewhere, MacNeil took Scout, who is also his company WeatherTech’s unofficial mascot, to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

The vets there agreed that the dog had just a 1% chance of survival, but were determined to treat Scout anyway. They administered aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.

Throughout it all, vets say that Scout maintained his sweet, calm temperament, making them even more determined to restore Scout’s quality of life.

After just a month of treatment, they discovered that Scout’s tumor has shrunk by 78%– and today, it’s been nearly eradicated!

He found a way to give back

MacNeil was so grateful to the vets who saved his best friend that he decided to take out a $6 million ad during the Super Bowl to promote the resources that kept Scout alive. The 30-second spot, called “Lucky Dog,” opens with Scout running on the beach and tells the story of his survival.

The ad then advises people on how to donate to the veterinary school’s research program, helping the vets keep even more pets alive.

The research could save humans too

The dean of the school told WMTV that the ad will help all veterinary medicine and also cancer research that can also benefit humans.

“This is an amazing opportunity not only for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the School of Veterinary Medicine, but for veterinary medicine worldwide,” said university dean Mark Markel.

He explained that the donations can also benefit cancer research that will benefit humans.

Research into animal cancers can teach doctors about human cancers too. “So much of what’s known globally today about how best to diagnose and treat devastating diseases such as cancer originated in veterinary medicine.”

For his part, MacNeil is so grateful to have Scout safe and sound that he wants to help others in turn:

“I hope it has a positive impact on cancer for animals and people, all over the world.”

Scout and MacNeil’s story reminds us that when we refuse to give up on hope and follow up through to the end, the results can help not just our nearest and dearest, but have a ripple affect throughout the world as well.

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Woman Fired For Act of Kindness Now Has Companies Lining Up To Hire Her

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting

Sometimes, we try to do the right thing and it ends up causing us trouble, which causes us to question that good deed in the first place. Imagine helping out someone, just out of the goodness of your heart, and then getting fired for it!

That’s what happened to one woman in Portland, but her story took a surprising turn.

She wanted to help someone in need.

Emily James was fired from a U.S. Bank call center in Portland when she made the decision to help a struggling client on Christmas Eve.

Emily was a senior banker. On December 23, she received a call from a man named Eugenio, a bank customer whose paycheck from a new job had been placed on hold.

This meant that he had no means to access the money, which amounted to over $1000. It left him broke before Christmas and he could not afford to buy presents for his kids. Emily said she spent more than an hour trying to help Eugenio, but unfortunately to no avail.

Eugenio had tried to visit his Clackamas bank branch in the morning, which was Christmas Eve, and ask that bank manager to verify the fund. Apparently, they weren’t able to lift the hold.

She could not leave him stranded…

On Christmas Eve, Eugenio called her again on the U.S. Bank 800 number. He was at a gas station, unable to even fill his tank as he had insufficient funds.

“I said, ‘I wish I had just $20 bucks to get home,’ ” Eugenio recalled. “And she said ‘Wait, hold on.’”

Emily knew that Eugenio was just a few miles away so she told him to stay put and that she’d be there within 30 minutes with some gas money.

“I didn’t want her to do it,” he said. “But I’m not proud to the point that I’m going to refuse help.”

Emily said that she did get permission from her supervisor before she left, and drove to the gas station.

I handed him $20 in cash, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and went right back to work.

Emily James

Eugenio was incredibly touched by her willingness to help, as he recognized the precarious position that he may have put her in.

It was like, ‘Wow, she really cares,” he said. “Most supervisors, maybe they would have tried, but nobody would have ever come out because I was stranded. She had a big heart. She believed what I was saying.

…but her act of kindness got her in trouble

Emily went back to work and finished her shift. But a week later, on New Year’s Eve, she arrived at work only to find the regional manager of her branch waiting for her.

“She said, ‘We’re sorry, we cannot keep your employment,’” Emily said. The manager cited an “unauthorized interaction with a customer,” as the reason for her firing. This was her first time she ever got disciplined at her job. She has always been an exemplary worker and received many accolades for her good work.

According to Emily, the reasoning behind the decision was that “they were worried about [her] safety” as “he could have kidnapped [her]” or harmed her in some way. But as Emily affirmed, “I wouldn’t have left or even tried to ask if that was OK if I thought that this person would hurt me.”

For her, there was no reason not to help someone in need, especially considering the fact that it was Christmas’ Eve. “I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t help someone if you had the ability to,” Emily said. She didn’t need to think twice.

It’s Christmas Eve, it’s already a rough time for people, and you’re going to leave someone stranded? I couldn’t in good conscience do that, knowing it was something I could fix, or at least get him home.

And yes, she would have helped Eugenio even if she had known that she would end up losing her job. “Had I known then that I was going to be let go, I would have just removed the hold on the check, because that absolutely would have gotten me fired,” Emily admitted.

Eugenio’s check did not clear until days after Christmas. “It was one of the saddest Christmases,” he said. “Promissory notes for Christmas gifts. And I can’t believe (Emily) lost her job over it. The only one who seemed to care was Emily, and she got fired for that.”

Companies heard of her story

While James originally hoped to get her job back, now she’s not sure she wants to go back to an environment that did not value or attempt to understand her act of kindness.

However, she’s so touched by all the support she has been getting.  “It made me cry, just the fact that people actually care,” she said. “I’ve had more people reach out and just have something kind to say in the last (few) days than in my whole life.”

Emily has had many job interviews with banks and other institutions, though she has not yet accepted any position. But as her story went viral, several companies have reached out to her on social media, looking to have her on their team.

Companies and owners are reaching out to Emily James over social media

Emily did not hesitate to help Eugenio because she knew it was the right thing to do, despite the unforeseen negative consequences of her action. Now, she finds herself in a better position than the one she was in, sought after by companies that actually value her kindness.

Her incredible story proves that no good deed goes unrewarded. While getting fired for helping out somebody could potentially detract people from doing the right thing, the ensuing events prove that kindness always manages to come back to you.

More inspiring stories:

How Kobe Bryant Learned From His Daughter Gianna Bryant and Changed His Legacy Forever

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Celebrities, news, stories

Kobe Bryant died a sudden and shocking death this weekend this weekend, which shook the whole world. Nicknamed “Black Mamba,” the legendary basketball player was loved by many and was a source of inspiration to fans of the sport and others alike.

The helicopter that crashed was unfortunately also carrying his daughter, Gianna Bryant, whose life was also lost in the tragic accident. The crash also took the lives of seven other passengers, including the pilot. Among those, was baseball coach, John Altobelli with his wife and daughter Alyssa.

Gianna and Alyssa were good friends and played basketball together. They were all on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif, where Bryant coached basketball to kids.

Kobe’s relationship with Gianna renders their tragic and untimely death especially poignant. We were all aware of how much he loved her and how they bonded over basketball.

How Gianna Bryant was going to be Kobe’s legacy

Basketball was a passion and a talent Kobe Bryant had passed on to Gianna though Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016. After a legendary career that spanned two decades, he stayed on the court, now coaching his daughters.

Gianna was the second oldest of Kobe’s children and like her father, she shared a the same passion for the sport. On social media, the basketball legend shared many moments of his daughter’s basketball journey, always with pride.

Additionally, Bryant had brought her to basketball games, as the internet famous video below shows, and used them as learning moments.

But for Kobe, his daughter’s passion for basketball was even more symbolic. He and his wife Vanessa Bryant, had 4 daughters before Gianna’s death and no son but that did not stop him from seeing the latter as his basketball heiress.

The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me, and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.

Kobe Bryant on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Rather than accepting the circumstances, or wishing he had had a boy instead, Kobe proudly embraced Gianna as the leader of his legacy. In doing so, he also learned to see basketball differently and work towards a more inclusive culture.

He went from player to spectator…

Kobe retired in 2016, which afforded him a lot of time to focus on his family and other post-retirement projects. Being able to be present for his daughters’ and to coach them also changed his perception on basketball.

“You know what’s funny,” Bryant said on the “All the Smoke” podcast to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Jan. 9. “Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night.”

Gianna’s love for the sport enabled her father to see it from another perspective, to be able to enjoy it outside the context that he had been used to during the length of his career.

We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes.

“It wasn’t me sitting there as an athlete or a player or something like that, and it’s about me, and I don’t like that,” he finished. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”

But Bryant was being more than a devoted dad in those moments. Seeing his daughter as his legacy, the future of a family basketball dynasty, he wanted to nurture that talent so she could carry on what he started.

…and then, went from spectator to coach

As part of his projects, he decided to take the time to coach his daughter’s basketball team. The experience was more than an opportunity to bond with his daughter.

We’ve been working together for a year and a half and they’ve improved tremendously in that time. I’ve got a group of great parents, a group of really, really intelligent, hardworking girls, and — they’re all seventh graders, they’re all 12 years old — but they’ve been playing so well.

Kobe Bryant to Entertainment Tonight

He continued, highlighting what it was like to coach not only the middle school team but his daughter as well. “Gianna’s pretty easy to coach. We haven’t had any issues of dad-daughter sort of thing,” he said. Much like her father, she was “very competitive” and “a hard worker.”

It is no wonder that Gianna had inherited her father’s talent, which made it easier for him to coach her. However, his daughter’s love for the sport was also eye-opening and made him realize the importance of being inclusive when it comes to women in the world of basketball.

It was not specifically his daughter he saw as the future of basketball, but women in general. Kobe’s legacy is vast but part of it is rooted in his advocacy for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

What Kobe meant for women in basketball

In an interview with CNN, Kobe expressed his opinions on the division between men and women in the world of the NBA.

I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now honestly. There’s a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it.

Bryant went on to name three WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) stars who he believes could make the jump into the men’s league. “Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Elena Della Donne. There’s a lot of great players out there so they could certainly keep up with them,” he said.

While there are still a lot of steps before this could even become a possibility, the voice and endorsement of a legend like Kobe has been invaluable to female basketball players. There is a general tendency to disregard or undermine female athletes, and always compare them to the more mainstream, male counterparts of their sports.

By breaching that space between the two leagues, Kobe made sure that female basketball players were heard and given their due recognition.

It is no wonder that female basketball players were particularly shocked by the recent events. Female basketball coach of the Oregon Ducks, Sabrina Ionescu “was particularly struck by the news.” As reported by The Oregonian, “Bryant had become a mentor to her and she became especially close to the family.” Kobe’s daughter Gianna dreamt of playing for her team one day.

While nothing can ever bring back the lives that were lost in the accident, it is possible for us to not forget the legacy that Kobe and Gianna had been working on for female athletes, but also for women in general. They will always be remembered for their close relationship, but also their efforts to promote equality in sports.

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How This Moving Company is Helping Victims of Abuse Escape– And Find Better Lives

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Far too many women and men are in abusive relationships where they are struggling to get away from a partner and just don’t know the way out. Victims of abuse remain in the relationship out of fear, sometimes until it is too late. They can feel helpless, especially when they want to leave their partner, especially when the resources are not readily available to them.

Enter Meathead Movers, a California-based moving service founded by Aaron and Evan steed back in 1997. At the time, their moving fee was usually $20 and a pizza! Now, Aaron and Evan have managed to build a successful business and in the process, have found a way to help women in need.

It all started with phone calls.

As their business expanded, the Steeds started to get phone calls from women with little or no money who wanted to quickly move out before their abusers returned home. Whenever these calls happened, they rushed to help the women move and offered their services free of charge.

But when the abusive partner of a particular client returned home mid-move, things got violent. It was then that they resolved to continue helping abused women and find a better and safer way to do it. Their next step was then to partner with a local women’s shelter.

What was good about that is, they could be vetting the requests for help, supporting the women with counselling, and making sure when we went in, the proper restraining orders were in place, or police were on hand if necessary.

Aaron Steed to Good News Network

Their company is expanding in a meaningful way

These efforts inevitably optimized the way the could assist the victims without putting their lives in danger. Beth Raub, director of the local women’s shelter, said that one of their staff is always on-site the day of the move so they can “call law enforcement if things get dicey.”

And the company has expanded. Now they are helping abused women in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. Each time they open a new office in a new neighbourhood, they immediately head to a local women’s shelter and introduce themselves.

For them, the opportunity to help is precious. They are committed to offering the same services to any victim of domestic violence, be it man or woman. This sense of purpose drives them and has become integral to their company’s values.

It’s the special service we like to offer. These moves became very personal to us, made all the employees so proud, and became part of our mission statement.

Aaron Steed

They are going beyond moving

Meathead Movers aren’t done helping. In fact, they have expanded yet again. This week, the company launched a new campaign that asks other businesses to “get creative” and help victims of domestic violence.

Called #MoveToEndDV, the purpose of the campaign is to inspire other businesses to help victims of abuse, whether that means working with shelters, or helping women to get on their feet once they do get away.

“Some of our ideas are for businesses to offer free security systems, a dog kennel service, or for an auto-mechanic to provide oil changes,” Aaron said. “All those little things would help defer costs of starting over.”

Why Meathead Movers are so inspiring

Aaron and Evan Steed started with a small initiative. After all, they only answered phone calls. Yet, instead of treating these situations like any other business transaction, they decided to go beyond and extend their help, free of charge.

They realized that they were in a position to offer assistance and make a real change in the lives of victims. By expanding and raising awareness, they have turned their small initiatives into a widespread call for change.

Their touching story reminds us that we can seize the opportunity to help someone else when it presents itself, however small it is. These women were offered a chance to have a new start in life and that is no insignificant achievement. We never know how a small gesture can have a lasting impact on someone else’s life.

And if you’re suffering in silence, know that there are people out there ready and waiting to help!

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This Man Has a Powerful Message For Anyone Questioning Why He Still Surprises His Ex-Wife Every Birthday

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Co-parenting is hard even in the best of relationships, and after a divorce, it can often feel impossible. People who have decided to exit each other’s lives are sometimes still forced together because they have children they both love and care for.

Ideally, a couple can decide their relationship is not meant to be and still be able to maintain love and respect for each other, for the sake of their children. Unfortunately, it is often not the case and the residual bitterness can negatively affect the children and ex-spouses.

Yet, what does a healthy divorce look like?

Healthy divorces are not imaginary

Yes, it is possible to go through a divorce and come out on the other side with a healthy and loving relationship with one’s ex-spouse. Such is the story of Billy Flynn Gadbois, who wrote a Facebook post about the unique and special relationship he has with his ex-wife.

His post went viral because he proved the world wrong about the assumptions we hold towards divorce.

He celebrates his ex-wife as if they were still married

In his post, Billy shares that he woke up early to buy flowers, cards and breakfast ingredients to help their kids surprise their mom, his ex-wife, on her birthday.

However, he was soon questioned about his decision to celebrate his ex-wife. “Per usual someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time,” Gadbois wrote. His response was nothing short of inspirational.

This annoys me. So I’ma break it down for you all. I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships.

Billy Flynn Gadbois

Divorce is bigger than you

Gadbois is a shining example of how exes don’t have to let negative feelings about each other take lead, especially when young, impressionable children are watching.

The initiative came from both parties and was very much based on what they wanted for their children. “We decided early on that we were going to put the effort into co-parenting,” he said in an interview with TODAY.

So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your shit together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.

Billy Flynn Gadbois to Love What Matters

Similarly, Billy’s ex-wife also makes the effort to celebrate his birthday in the same manner. In doing so, they manage to make their children feel comfortable and spare them from the often traumatic effects that divorce can have on them.

A proof that divorce does not have to be toxic

Billy admits that “divorce can really bring out the worst in people” and that “it takes work to get the relationship to a point where you can co-parent like this.” But the work is necessary, as ex-spouses can “show each other respect and care in front of the kids, and help the kids care for that parent, regardless of how [they] feel about each other.”

Billy’s rejection of the traditional narratives surrounding the issue of divorce is a powerful gesture towards challenging our assumptions. Relationships come and go, but family ties last forever. This is why it is primordial to nurture them and foster a healthy rapport with our ex-spouses.

And as Billy said, children learn through imitation so it is important to keep that in mind when we are experiencing rough patches in marriage.

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