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Woman Talks About Her Job To Stranger On Flight – What He Does Next Shocks Her

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

*Featured image contains photo by Natã Romualdo

Teachers do so much for their students: They teach valuable lessons, explain hard concepts, and inspire their students on a daily basis. In underprivileged communities, teachers often help in additional ways, like reaching into their own wallets so their students can have a cafeteria meal or school supplies.

Kimber Bermudez taught at Carlos Fuentes Elementary, a school on the northwest side of Chicago, where most of her students came from predominantly low-income families.

Her job was a big part of her life and something she often discussed with others. That’s how it became the topic of conversation between Bermudez and the passenger beside her on a flight to Florida.

“I have been known as a talker since I was a child,” she told NBC 5.

The Miracle That Took Place On A Southwest Airlines Flight

plane in the sky
Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

On Southwest flight 1050, Bermudez told her neighbor about her work at the charter school in Avondale neighborhood.

“He said, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘I am a teacher’ and he asked where,” Bermudez said. “He said, ‘What is your greatest struggle?’ And I started talking about our school and the amazing educators here.”

Bermudez told the man next to her about the struggles the children dealt with, such as not having enough money to buy school supplies. In those situations, the teachers at her school used their own money to help their students pay.

RELATED: Flight Attendant Finds Passenger’s Baby Crying Out Of Hunger- Steps In With An Outstanding Offer

“We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without,” she said. “In 2018, kids should never be hungry or in need of anything.”

It just so happened that Bermudez’s neighbor worked for a company that donated items to schools-in-need. He asked her for her information so that he could organize a donation to her school.

“I was not intending for him to say that, and then gave him my school email,” she said. “Then something amazing happened.”

Why Passengers On A Flight Gave A Teacher $530

The man behind Bermudez tapped her on the shoulder and interrupted her conversation. He apologized for eavesdropping, then handed a wad of cash to Bermudez. While she struggled to understand exactly what was happening, the man said one last thing.

“I heard your story; do something amazing,” the man told her.

Bermudez only found out later that he had given her $500.

RELATED: Passengers Stunned When Stranger Goes Above And Beyond For Terrified Senior On Flight

She promised to use the money to buy her students books, but that wasn’t the only cash coming her way. As the plane landed, the man sitting across from Bermudez gave her $20 and the man in front of her handed her another $10.

“I started crying on the plane,” she said. “I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids. I was not telling my story to solicit money, and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carry on.”

Bermudez knew that $530 could do a lot for the children in her classroom. “With more resources I will get to do more and the kids will get to do more,” she said. “I am just baffled and blown away by all of this.” 

How Strangers Proved The Importance Of Helping A Person In Need

person counting money
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

She posted about the incident on her Facebook account, which garnered hundreds of views, with the hope that others would see the kindness in the world and decide to also give back to those in need.

“I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need,” she wrote. “It doesn’t have to be a school in Chicago, and any bit helps!”

RELATED: Woman Unexpectedly Goes Into Labor Mid Air – Strangers Help Deliver Baby

Though she doesn’t know the names of any of the passengers who gave her money, she hoped that the Facebook post would help her find these strangers so she could properly thank them.

“My heart is in complete shock and awe right now,” she wrote. “When the world seems crazy there are always good people. I would do anything for my students, and want to thank these strangers. I don’t know the name of the man who gave me the $500 or the other generous strangers, but they deserve to be recognized.”

Bermudez explained to others how she helps children around her, which then inspired them to help, too. One act of kindness led to more, creating a chain reaction of compassion. So perform an act of kindness whenever you can because it will impact the world tenfold.

KEEP READING:

Stressed Mom Travels With 2 Screaming Kids On Long Flight – Fellow Passenger Has Unexpected Response

help people in need

“People appreciate and never forget that helping hand especially when times are tough.” – Catherine Pulsifer

https://www.goalcast.com/southwest-airlines-strangers-give-money-teacher-help-students/

Dad Hears 14-Year-Old Scream As She Hangs From Six Flags Ride – Jumps Into Action To Save Her Life

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

Just when it seemed that nothing could spoil a day of family fun at a Six Flags amusement park, disaster ruined the ride.

A day of games and cotton candy was winding down when 47-year-old Matthew Howard Sr. and his family were startled by the sounds of frantic screams.

How A Brave Father Acted Swiftly To Save A Falling Girl

amusement park
Photo by Thomas Stadler on Unsplash

Per CBS News, when he looked up, Howard saw a 14-year-old girl dangling about 25 feet off the ground from a gondola ride. Her little brother was in the pod next to her, crying that he couldn’t hold onto her much longer.

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Driven by paternal motivation, Howard and his 21-year-old daughter, Leeann Winchell raced to position themselves under the girl with seconds to spare.

I said, ‘It’s OK! It’s OK to let go, I’ll catch you, honey.

Matthew Howard Sr.

In a leap of faith, the girl let go and landed in Howard’s arms who took the brunt of her fall. She was immediately placed into a golf cart, and sent to the care of emergency workers on site.

The Amazing Aftermath Following A Father’s Rescue

The girl’s recovery was a success, as she had no serious injuries. Howard, on the other hand, was treated for a minor back injury after the rescue.

Howard and his daughter later visited the girl in the hospital and said that she was in good spirits. 

RELATED: Frantic Mom Forgets Son’s Medicine on Vacation – But a Surprising Hero Saves the Day

The video of the rescue went viral, with over 13 million views, 140,000 likes, and over 5,000 comments. Many applauded Howard’s sacrifice.

“This guy is amazing. He’ll probably be dealing with back issues for the rest of his life, and I’m sure he knew that as he was encouraging her to jump into his arms,” wrote one.

It takes a BIG man with a BIG heart to pull something like that #Respect.

Commenter

How One Father Proved That Importance Of Displaying Courage

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In a prepared statement, a Six Flags official said, “There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until a thorough review can be completed.”

Looking back on that manic moment, Howard says that his motivation was simple.

RELATED: 6-Year-Old Hears Dad Yelling for Help – Saves His Life With a Simple Google Search

“I couldn’t let that little girl die. No one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn’t stand by and watch,” he said.

On that day, Howard found out that even if his own family is safe and sound, danger can be just around the bend. Thankfully, his daddy instincts rose to the occasion in a heroic fashion.

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lead with courage

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

https://www.goalcast.com/brave-dad-rescues-girl-fall-six-flags-great-escape/

Man Who Lost His Parents Makes Heartbreaking Request On Tv – What A Stranger Did Next Changed His Life

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

Being orphaned at a young age is an extremely difficult reality to deal with. Our parents are the ones we turn to for safety, security, and love. Without them, childhood is a rougher experience than most of us can imagine.

However, the experience can connect people, even over thousands of miles. When one Seattle man saw the story of a fellow orphan on TV, he decided to take matters into his own hands and changed three lives forever. 

The Heartbreaking Request One Man Made On A Talent Show

people cheering for a group performing on stage
Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash

Greg Rosas, a Seattle man originally from the Philippines, was watching the Filipino talent show Wowowee when he saw a familiar story that broke his heart. One of the contestants, a young man called Barry Bogert Jr., was telling the audience how his mother had passed away when he was only five years old.

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Before that, he explained, his American Navy father had left the country without ever meeting his son. Barry had a message for his father, letting him know that he still wanted to meet him despite being left as an orphan for the past two decades. 

I don’t know if you don’t care about us but I want you to know that I want to see you.

Barry Bogert Jr.

Why One Seattle Man Wanted To Change A Stranger’s Life

Greg Rosas, who had been orphaned himself as a young child, was touched by the fellow orphan’s sad story. He decided to do what he could to find the young man’s father. After searching high and low, Rosas actually found the man. His name was Barry Bogert Sr. and he was living with his family in New Jersey.

After verifying a few details and submitting a paternity test, the result was clear — Barry Bogert Sr. was in fact the long-lost father of Barry Bogert Jr.! Greg Rosas contacted the young Filipino and flew him out to Seattle, then accompanied him to New Jersey to meet his father. 

The picture [Greg Rosas] sent me looks exactly like me.

Barry Bogert Sr.

How A Father And Son Reunited After 28 Years

2 men hugging in a crowded room
Photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash

Once they landed in New Jersey, Bogert Jr. and Bogert Sr. finally met after a decades-long separation. Upon seeing one another, the two men broke down in tears. Bogert Jr. also met his father’s other family, who were emotional and excited to be getting a new family member.

RELATED: Relentless Dad Finally Reunites With Kidnapped Son After 24 Years Of Searching

The whole meeting was captured on video, and Greg Rosas felt overwhelmed with emotion about what he was to do for a fellow orphan. He went one step further and offered to sponsor Bogert Jr., offering him a job at the restaurant he owned. Bogert Jr. accepted with enthusiasm, and plans to bring over his fiancée and children as soon as he is able to. 

Greg Rosas is a good samaritan who was able to reunite a broken family over 28 years and 6,000 miles. He went above and beyond, but we can all take a page from Rosas’ book. If we all empathized with the stories of those around us and did whatever is in our power to help, the world would be a better place.

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lead with empathy

“Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of loss in their life has empathy for those who have experienced loss.” – Anderson Cooper

https://www.goalcast.com/father-son-reunite-28-years-show-wowowee-philippines/

Little Boy Denied Food On His Birthday Because Of $9 Lunch Debt – His Grandmother Has The Best Response

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

Sometimes policies can seem a little nonsensical, especially when it comes to children and basic kindness. Take this story about a nine-year-old in Uniontown, Ohio, for example, whose school lunch was snatched away from him because of a $9 balance on his account.

Why A 9-year-old’s Lunch Was Taken Away From Him

school cafeteria
Photo by Anton Murygin on Unsplash

Jefferson Sharpnack came home to his family in September 2019 upset that his ninth birthday didn’t exactly go as planned after a terrible lunch experience.

“I got my cheesy breadsticks and put in my number,” Jefferson explained to an ABC news affiliate. “And when I was going to check out, the lunch lady didn’t say anything, took away my cheesy breadsticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread on cheese from the fridge and put it on my tray.”

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Why? As it turned out there was a $9 debt on the kid’s account. And while some employees would have looked the other way, added to the debt, or even counted the items as spillage at the end of the day so this kid could enjoy his lunch, the staff stuck to the policies in place.

According to CNN, Green Local Schools confirmed the incident took place and that Jefferson was given the alternative lunch provided to kids in such situations. That lunch is a cheese sandwich, a side item, and milk.

What wasn’t explained was the lack of communication: Jefferson and his siblings were under the temporary custody of their grandmother, Diane Bailey, who put them in the free and reduced lunch program. At the time, she was told she could just write a check for any balance until the new paperwork went through.

You’re going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn’t make sense to me.

Diane Bailey

“In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district,” Bailey told the ABC outlet. “And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can’t reserve it?” she continued.

“He was bullied, he was bullied by the school officials. He had his lunch removed from his tray at the age of nine,” she also added to a local Fox affiliate.

How One Incident At A School Inspired District-Wide Changes

students doing homework at school
Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

Bailey was understandably upset, so she made several complaints and took to social media, where people shared the story. Finally, Green Local Schools took notice. The feedback was enough for Superintendent Jeff Miller to change the policy and ensure all students get their standard lunch from now on.

“We are committed to providing our students with a positive, safe learning environment and experience in every aspect of the school day. All students enrolled in Pre-K through twelfth grades will receive the standard lunch for the day at their respective buildings regardless of their account balance,” he said in a statement.

“[We] will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals,” Miller said.

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“We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches. Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals.”

The solution seemed more than reasonable to Bailey, who revealed to the Fox affiliate she appreciated the district’s prompt and “perfect solution.”

As for her grandson’s birthday? That was salvaged by a dinner at his favorite restaurant and cupcakes.

How One Grandmother Proved The Importance Of Speaking Up

"be the change" written on a structure on the road
Photo by Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash

Sure, some feel as though the school officials in this situation could have handled things differently. But at the end of the day, the situation brought light to a difficult policy and inspired lasting change.

However, food insecurity is an ongoing issue that affects all communities and possibly even those you know. With inflation and people still trying to catch up post-pandemic, it can be difficult for families to access nutritious and filling food on a regular basis.

RELATED: Veteran Breaks Down In Tears When Invited To Join Stranger For Lunch

That’s why it’s so important to give back when you can. Whether you organize a food drive, donate money to your local food bank, or raise awareness through a GoFundMe on your birthday, it’s more necessary now than ever to help make sure everyone has enough.

Jefferson’s story may not be unique, but here’s hoping it inspires more of us to give back and raise awareness so kids and their families can have full tummies, too.

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be the change

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

https://www.goalcast.com/little-boy-denied-school-lunch-birthday-9-lunch-debt-uniontown-ohio/

George Clooney Handed 14 Friends a Mystery Suitcase Each – What They Found Inside Shocked Them

By | Food for thought, George Clooney, inspiring, stories, uplifting news

*Featured image contains photo by Sun Lingyan on Unsplash

Good friends are priceless, but if George Clooney had to put a price on them, he’d say well worth one million dollars. He knew he wanted to reward his friends for their kindness and support.

Clooney once gave fourteen of his closest friends a million bucks in cash to thank them for always having his back. Among these recipients was Rande Gerber, Clooney’s Casamigos business partner, who told MSNBC about the gift back in 2017. Later to GQ, Clooney confirmed it himself.

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Clooney knew great friends were hard to come by, and he was incredible grateful for the ones in his own life.

“Amal and I had just met, but we weren’t dating at all,” the actor said. “I was a single guy. All of us were aging. I was 52 or something. And most of my friends are older than me.”

Why George Clooney Wanted to Give His Friends $14 Million

$100 bills
Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

For the past 35 years, his friends were always there for him. He even believed they helped him achieve his success.

They helped me when I needed help over the years and I’ve helped them over the years. We’re all good friends.

George Clooney

Clooney thought the world of his friends and knew that’s exactly what they deserved: The world.

RELATED: Relationship Goals: George and Amal Clooney

“I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this. And we’re all really close, and I just thought basically if I get hit by a bus, they’re all in the will. So why the f*** am I waiting to get hit by a bus?” he said.

Then, when his film Gravity with Sandra Bullock became a hit, he had earned millions of dollars just for that one movie. Though Clooney couldn’t actually give his friends the world, he could give them something else instead.

George Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven Inspired Plan to Surprise His Friends

So, he devised a fun way to present his gifts to his friends.

Inspired by Ocean’s Eleven, Clooney came up with a plan for how he can gift each of his friends one million dollars. In a van with “Florist” painted on the side, Clooney stopped by a warehouse in Los Angeles that was known to have giant pallets of money. That’s where he picked up $14 million in cash.

Next, Clooney stuffed fourteen Tumi suitcases with a million dollars each and invited his friends over for dinner. When they were all gathered together, Clooney began to get serious.

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“I just held up a map and I just pointed to all the places I got to go in the world and all the things I’ve gotten to see because of them,” he said.

Gerber remembers Clooney’s speech fondly. “George begins to say, ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life,” Gerber said. “‘I came to LA, I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you. So, it was really important to me that while we’re still all here together that I give back. So I want you all to open your suitcases.’”

How George Clooney Proved the Importance of Appreciating Good Friends

two men wearing black suits and caps clinking drinks together
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 27: Rande Gerber (L) and George Clooney attend Casamigos Halloween party at CATCH Las Vegas at ARIA Resort & Casino on October 27, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Casamigos)

Clooney’s friends, who he refers to as “the Guys,” all opened the suitcases and were shocked by what they saw.

“One was working at a bar in Texas at the airport, trying just to support his family,” Gerber said. “Rides a bicycle to work every day. I mean, these are guys that took care of George and now he’s giving it all back.”

Apparently, not everyone originally wanted to keep the money.

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Gerber tried to return the money; he was a successful businessman and didn’t think he needed it. However, Clooney would not take it back.

“I’m just going to make one announcement,” Clooney said when Gerber refused the cash. “If Rande doesn’t take the million dollars, nobody gets their money.” So Gerber took his cut and donated it to charity.

Not everyone has millions of dollars to hand out to friends, but we do all have something. Whether it’s our time, our patience, a listening ear, or — in Clooney’s case — fourteen suitcases brimming with money, we can all give back to those who have supported us.

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Never forget the people who supported you when you were struggling.

https://www.goalcast.com/oceans-eleven-george-clooney-gave-friends-14-million/

Stranger Notices 2 Hungry Children at Restaurant – Steps in After Overhearing Their Food Order

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

Fending for yourself as a child can be daunting. We are often shy to ask strangers for help when in need — and for good reason! Adults who seem to act like they are helping can sometimes be dangerous, and it is hard for a child to differentiate between a friend and a foe.

However, two young children recently got some help from an anonymous stranger who definitely turned out to be a friend! 

Why 2 Hungry Children Had to Limit the Amount of Food They Ordered

brother and sister sitting at the edge of a cliff
Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

When their mother called home to tell them she had been in a minor accident and was not going to make it home in time to put dinner on the table, two young children were forced to go find food at a local restaurant. The brother and sister duo headed out with what little money they had to make sure their bellies were full for the night.

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Once they had arrived at the restaurant, the two children had to keep their family’s financial situation top of mind as they ordered only two plates of duck rice, one big and one small, and told the waiter in advance that they would wrap up any leftovers that were not eaten. To their surprise, the two got more than they had bargained for.

How an Eavesdropping Stranger Stepped in to Help the Children

A man was eating alone near the two children and overheard the care with which they ordered. He quickly realized that their financial situation must be stressful and decided to not only pay for the dinner they had ordered, but add a few extra dishes to the total so that they had enough to bring home and eat for a few days.

RELATED: Hungry Child Refuses To Eat Food Offered To Him By Stranger For The Most Heartwarming Reason

The waiter, who was also worried about the children, loved the man’s plan. He added vegetables and soup to the order, hoping that these would help the children get a bit more nutrition over the coming days. 

[I wanted the children to] eat more nutritious food and have their fill.

Restaurant waiter

When the children found out that someone had paid their bill, they were excited and told their mother about what had happened. She was very grateful, and rushed to the restaurant to try and catch the stranger before he left, but she was too late. Nevertheless, she wanted to express her gratitude, so she wrote about the whole story on Facebook and included a thank you message to the man.

“Thank you! I hope you can see this. Thank you for the care,” their grateful mother wrote.

The Reason One Stranger Wanted to Help the 2 Hungry Children

person preparing food
Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash

The Facebook post went viral, getting thousands of likes and shares and inspiring the community. Not only that, thanks to social media, the mystery man was identified as 29-year-old celebrity chef Luo Shirong. He related to the children because he had been poor in his youth and knew how much poverty can lead to struggle.

I was poor when I was young. When I saw the young brother and sister eating without their parents, I remembered when I was little. I dared not to eat because I had no money!

Luo Shirong

Seeing them eat without worrying about money was very satisfying and heartwarming, and he was glad that he was able to help a family that reminded him so much of his own. Luo Shirong’s actions are a good reminder to us all that whenever we can, lending a helping hand can make a big difference to a small few, but can inspire many more!

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“Making one person smile can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.” – John Spence

https://www.goalcast.com/luo-shirong-celebrity-chef-pays-childrens-bill-restaurant/

School Janitor Reveals a Tragic Secret – So Her Boss Plans a Surprise That Brings Her to Tears

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

Frances Buzzard had never had a birthday party. That was, until this year. Buzzard, lovingly known as Ms. Frances, was a janitor at Belle Elementary School in West Virginia.

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She had only been working there for a year, but all the students and staff already adored and respected her. She always came to work with a smile on her face and a good attitude, making her a pleasure to be around.

She was about to turn 77-years-old but never in her life had she had her own birthday celebration. Once, her family tried to plan her a party, but “it was so icy and cold, nobody came.”

Why Elementary School Staff Wanted to Throw Their Janitor a Party

empty school hallway
Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

When the staff at the elementary school learned of this from the head cook, they decided to throw her a birthday party themselves. 

“The opportunity couldn’t pass us by,” Amanda Mays, the principal of Belle Elementary School, said.

A little after lunchtime, Frances and her co-worker Rendell Heater heard an announcement over the loudspeaker informing them that they were needed in the cafeteria. Frances expected to encounter a mess to clean, but instead she found a room of staff and students applauding her.

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All in all, there were more than 200 people in the cafeteria waiting to shout “surprise” at their beloved custodian.

Frances was absolutely shocked. She could not stop smiling, even as emotional tears stung her eyes. She admitted that she comes from an impoverished family because of which she couldn’t celebrate birthdays or holidays.

Why an Elderly Janitor Broke Down in Front of the Whole School

Principal Mays led Frances to her throne — a cushioned chair in the center of the room — and gave her a crown and a sash. A table of cupcakes were to the side of the cafeteria, two with burning candles on them for Frances to blow out and make a wish.

They even made a video for Frances where they photoshopped photos of her into major historical events, including the moon landing and Woodstock.

“Through the lens of history, Ms. Frances Buzzard, this is your life,” the video announced.

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The children all serenaded Frances with the happy birthday song as she stood at the front of the room.

Never had nothing like this. Oh, it’s a great big party, I appreciate it. I’ve never had nobody do this for me.

Frances Buzzard

When the staff and students of the elementary school learned of the parties their admired custodian missed out on for the last 77 years, they did something about it. Their love and kindness transformed Frances’s birthday and created a memory she will never forget and made the event the best she has ever had.

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“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

https://www.goalcast.com/belle-elementary-school-custodian-surprise-party-west-virginia/

Queer Counselor Was Told Not to Return to Camp – So They Did Something Unexpected

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

*Featured image contains photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

Summer camp is a memorable experience whether you’re a camper or a counselor. It’s where you make memories and friends and have unforgettable experiences you just can’t get at home. As a parent, you also hope it’s somewhere where kids learn more about inclusion and kindness. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Shira Berkowitz’s experience with one camp back in 2007.

Back then, Berkowitz (who identifies as queer and uses the pronouns they/them) was 22-years-old. They loved their job as a counselor at an overnight camp in Minnesota and according to The Washington Post, Berkowitz was on track to becoming the program director for ninth-graders.

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Then the summer ended and Berkowitz was asked not to return. According to the counselor, fellow staffers would, “Say inappropriate things about my sexuality, and question whether it was right that I would be in the same cabin of same-sex kids.”

Parents also wondered whether it was appropriate and voiced concerns about Berkowitz’s gender identity and sexuality, which is why Berkowitz believes they were asked not to come back.

Why Camp in Minnesota Asked a Queer Counselor Not to Return

people sitting around a bonfire
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Berkowitz was disappointed and understandably hurt, but after some self-reflection, they decided to try another camp. They had grown up attending Jewish camps and still really wanted to be a part of the experience. So Berkowitz got a job at an overnight program in Rocky Mount, Missouri.

“[It was] a very accepting place to be, but it was also very isolating to be one of the only queer people at camp,” they explained to the Post. If Berkowitz felt that way, they knew others were probably feeling similarly. They were motivated to take matters into their own hands.

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Camp Indigo Point in Makanda, Illinois, was born. The nondenominational camp is specifically targeted to LGBTQ campers and staff and offers weeklong programs beginning this week. All 95 spots were filled by mid-May and there are more than 50 kids on the waitlist. Campers range from Grades 2 through 11 and are coming in from more than 25 states — including Alaska.

“We had no idea the real need that was out there for this camp,” Berkowitz explained, adding that so far they’ve given out $12,000 in scholarships funded by community leaders, rabbis, and local families.

How a Queer Counselor Created Their Own Summer Camp

Camp Indigo Point features all the traditional overnight activities you would expect from camp. Think swimming and zip-lining, archery, sports, and arts and crafts. There’s also horseback riding and kayaking, not to mention tree climbing.

“We believe that LGBTQ+ youth deserve a place and environment made specifically for them in community and safety with LGTBQ+ adults to thrive as kids: Have fun, build lasting friendships, take risks, and build joy,” reads a description on the camp’s website.

For its first summer run, Camp Indigo Point has 29 staffers. Berkowitz organized everything with Dan Grabel, the director and owner of the camp’s property in Illinois. A St. Louis rabbi and advocate named Daniel Bogard is also involved. Initially, the trio was hoping for 20 kids.

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“How much this has really taken off put into sharp focus the need for this type of program,” Grabel also told the Post. “We have an underlying philosophy that we’re never going to turn a kid away because of their financial situation.”

“I thought it was pretty amazing that they saw the need, and they went for it,” Denver parent Ron Mills told the publication after signing his 13-year-old son up.

They’re doing a major service for kids that are unable to really find a community.

Ron Mills

How One Special Camp Is Allowing Children to Be Themselves

children laughing and playing together
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

This story proves there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to accepting people from all walks of life, but it also reminds us that just because people may not understand or accept you somewhere doesn’t mean that no one out there will.  

Berkowitz was probably devastated when they were asked not to return to a camp they loved, but instead of dwelling on it they moved on and created something even more beautiful. Now, countless kids can find their own tribes and make the kind of summer memories every parent wants for their kids — no matter what their gender identity or sexuality.

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This story is also a great reminder to practice kindness and empathy in our own daily lives and to accept others for who they are. Maybe if you’re enrolling a kid in a program or camp, research whether there are any non-traditional or special programs in your area that may speak to them and who they are. Or, if you see the need for such a program why not take things into your own hands and start one?

You could also find a more manageable way to make a difference. Consider volunteering your time as a coach or assistant, donating funds, or even just spreading the word. After all, you never know when or how you may affect someone else’s life for the better.

More Uplifting News from Goalcast:

accept people for who they are

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” – Brian Tracy

https://www.goalcast.com/queer-counselor-starts-summer-camp-for-lqbtq-youth-camp-indigo-point-illinois/

Classmates Refuse to Sign Bullied Boy’s Yearbook – And Then Paul Rudd Stepped In

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

The end of the school year is that time of year when kids are signing each other’s yearbooks. But what happens when no one signs yours?

That happened to Brody Ridder, a sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado. “I went up to people and I asked them, ‘Can you sign my yearbook?’ and some of them were like no,” he told KDVR.

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He collected a few signatures in his yearbook, from two classmates, two teachers and himself.

“Hope you make some more friends — Brody Ridder,” he wrote in his own yearbook.

“It honestly broke my heart,” his mother Cassandra Ridder said. “And that was really hard to see and read as a mom.”

Why Students Refused to Sign One Sixth Grader’s Yearbook

lonely boy on a beach
Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers on Unsplash

She took a photo and posted it to a Facebook group for parents at the school.

“I was overwhelmed with how much love and encouragement I received for Brody. It was amazing,” Cassandra Ridder told KDVR.

Other parents showed their children and the post made its way to three soon-to-be seniors.

“It’s so fun having everyone sign your yearbook and for this kid to only have people sign their names in his yearbook, it’s just soul crushing,” Simone Lightfoot told KDVR.

Lightfoot found out about the post from fellow student Logan South, who said his family spent time discussing ways they could help.

“We all just started planning that the next day we were going to go sign this kid’s yearbook,” South said.

Another classmate, Joanna Cooper, was planning to do the same. “It was really heartbreaking to see people just sign their names like just the bare minimum,” Cooper said.

Even though none of them had ever met the middle schooler, the soon-to-be seniors rounded up as many students as possible to sign Brody’s yearbook.

We walked in and we were like ‘Where’s Brody at? Is Brody Ridder in here?’ And they’re like ‘Yeah he’s in the back’ and we’re like ‘Brody! We’re here to sign your yearbook bud.’

Simone Lightfoot to KDVR

How 3 Senior Students and a Celebrity Made a Bullied Boy Feel Included

paul rudd at a movie premiere
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 15: Actor Paul Rudd attends the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 15, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Brody collected more than 100 signatures and they included paragraphs with words of encouragement, advice, and even phone numbers.

After that, everyone in the class started signing Brody’s yearbook. Brody said he’s not sure the kids who initially refused to sign his book will become his friends next year but it doesn’t feel impossible. “It just made me feel better as a person. I don’t know how to explain it. It just makes me feel better on the inside,” he said.

“It made me feel like there’s hope for the school, there’s hope for humanity and there’s a lot of good kids in this world,” his mother told KDVR. Actor Paul Rudd also reached out to Brody to chat!

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The high schoolers didn’t just sign his yearbook, they also made an effort to get to know him, and asked about his hobbies — including chess and fencing — and gave him a pep talk, since many of them were once in his shoes.

The teens said they hope the gesture inspires other kids to be kind. “Always just be that gateway for people to feel welcome,” Cooper said.

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make everybody feel like somebody

“We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll

https://www.goalcast.com/senior-students-sign-bullied-boys-yearbook-paul-rudd-colorado/

Homeless Woman Gives Her Last 4P to Little Girl Crying at McDonald’s – Leaves Her Mom ‘Overwhelmed’

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

*Featured image contains photos by Annie Spratt and Artem Nedzelskiy on Unsplash

In September 2021, Joanne and her daughter were heading into a McDonald’s. Joanne Anderson, a 42-year-old hospice worker, stopped for breakfast with her daughter Emily before Emily’s hospital appointment. Inside that McDonald’s in Birkenhead, Joanne dropped Emily off at a table and stood in line at the cash register.

“We went in and I sat her down on the table, and I said to her, ‘You stay there and I’ll go and order,’” Joanne said.

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In line, Joanne was behind a woman in her 20s struggling to find enough money to afford her meal.

“She didn’t have enough money at first for what she wanted to buy, so I gave her 50p. I had some change in my purse,” Joanne explained. “She got to the counter, and as she was ordering, something must have happened and Emily came over and she was really upset. I think she was just upset that I was taking a long time. So she came over and she was crying.”

Why a Homeless Woman at McDonald’s Gave a 6-Year-Old Girl Money

McDonald's exterior at night
Photo by VLADISLAV BOGUTSKI on Unsplash

Emily is on hormone treatment for hypothyroidism which often causes her mood swings. Joanne said that Emily can go from being happy to “getting upset a lot.” But this time around, Emily’s crying didn’t last long because the woman who couldn’t afford her meal handed Emily the 4p she had left.

“She gave it to Emily and she said to her, ‘Aw don’t be upset, here’s some pennies for you to go and spend in the shop,’ which was just, I don’t know how to put it. I was a bit overwhelmed by it, because it was obvious she didn’t have anything because I’d already given her some money. And then for her to give her last 4p to my daughter because she was upset, it was lovely,” Joanne said.

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Joanne was awed by the kind act.

That was probably one of the nicest things a stranger has ever done for my child. Because in that moment, she stopped crying and she was happy.

Joanne Anderson

How a Mom Taught Her Daughter an Important Lesson on Compassion

Joanne used the moment as an opportunity to teach her daughter about compassion.

“I said to Emily, ‘You know, she’s given you that 4p because you were upset, and if you ever see anybody that’s upset, you should always try and help them. Especially in school, if anyone’s upset in school, help them.’ You know, that type of thing,” Joanne said. “Always try and be nice to people, because I think there’s too much negativity. It’s a cruel world at the best of times.”

Joanne, Emily, and the young woman spent the rest of the morning at the tables inside McDonald’s, talking about Emily’s school and the young woman’s dreams. When they all finished their meals, the woman cleared the table for everyone.

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Emily has not forgotten the kindness of the stranger.

We’ve still got the 4p. Emily won’t let me spend it. She still keeps this 4p.

Joanne Anderson

A young woman sacrificed the last of her change to brighten the day of a stranger. Her selflessness taught 6-year-old Emily an important lesson: Give to others whenever you can to make the world a better place.

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pay it forward

 “Together, we can change the world, one good deed at a time.” – Ron Hall

https://www.goalcast.com/homeless-woman-gives-change-crying-girl-mcdonalds-birkenhead/