The Friday 5: Your Uplifting Stories of the Week

Sometimes the news can be, well, not so inspiring. When headlines get you down, it’s important to remember that positive things are still happening all around us. Here are five hopeful and encouraging stories to pay attention to this week:

Outpouring of Support for Muslims During Ramadan

This Ramadan, DoSomething.org wanted to show Muslim Americans the love and support they have from millions of Americans. Through their “Sincerely, Us” campaign, DoSomething enlisted its members to make handmade Happy Ramadan cards, and the young Americans involved did not disappoint. Members created 41,287 beautiful handmade cards, which will be delivered to all the 2,300-plus mosque in the United States. The campaign also helped those who participated learn more about Ramadan. One 18-year-old participant felt more emboldened by the cause after learning about the month of fasting, saying, “As Americans and as people, we should feel safe and wanted in this country. I hope the cards I make will spread love to everyone who reads them.” Read more

Bootcamp Helps Veterans Gain Their Academic Footing

The transition from military service to college student can be difficult for veterans. Fortunately, the Warrior-Scholar Project exists to give veterans the boost they need to go back to school. This academic bootcamp aims to help veterans regain their footing in both the civilian and scholastic worlds. The two-week college prep course allows veterans to build confidence before attending college and acclimate to a less structured post-military life. Although participants have discussed their insecurities about their upcoming college experience, they’ve said the bootcamp has helped build excitement. As one vet put it, “I know that I am going to take a lot away from this program.” Read more

Dad Designs Waterpark for Kids with Disabilities

The heartbreak of seeing his disabled daughter left out of her peers’ summertime fun prompted Gordon Hartman to build a new kind of waterpark. After years of consulting special needs families, community members, and doctors, Hartman is ready to open Morgan’s Inspiration Island waterpark, a park specifically designed to serve the needs of disabled children. Easily accessible rides and waterproof wheelchairs (available for free for those who need them) are giving many disabled children the summer they’ve always wanted. The park operates as a nonprofit, as Hartman says tickets sales are unimportant: “It’s about offering a service.” Read more

Move Over, Picasso

When Ryan and Raniece Dalton moved from Brooklyn to Alabama with their 16-month-old daughter Maya, they were set on making their new home truly feel like their own. So, Ryan had the idea to have Maya help decorate her new room. After setting Maya up with some paints and a canvas, Ryan and Reniece stepped back and let her get to work. The results were quite impressive! They gave their little budding Picasso a second shot with an all-black canvas that turned out just as brilliant as her first masterpiece. Ryan posted Maya’s works of art on Twitter, and now people all over are praising the young artist and even asking for commissions! Read more

Hitting It out of the Park for St. Jude’s

The Jordan family of Westminster, Maryland is stepping up to the plate in the hopes that a few home runs can bring healing to young cancer patients. Moved by the thought of children battling cancer in hospital beds rather than breathing in fresh summer air, the Jordans decided to hold a Hit-A-Thon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Christopher and Ryan Jordan, both seasoned veterans of recreational baseball, helped organize the event where every single, double, triple and home run bring cancer patients one step closer to a cure. Read more