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:

mini-ninja-warrior-course_1475771560090_6374154_ver1-0Amazing Dad Builds Backyard ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Course for Daughter

Five-year-old Lylah MacCall has a dream. A ninja warrior dream. And her dad is doing everything he can to help make her dream come true. Lylah’s dad built an outdoor course for his daughter, complete with mini-obstacles like quintuple steps and the warped wall for her to train to become the next American Ninja Warrior. In time, we’ll see if the training pays off, but for now, Lylah and her dad are winners in our book. Read more.

Kansas Girl Helps Nana with $10K Half-Court Shot

As the first person in her family to attend college, Kansas University student Jordan Stiers owed a lot to her grandmother for getting her this far. So when Stiers got the chance to participate in her school’s annual free throw contest and win $10,000, she knew that she either had to go big or go home. “I was just thinking about my Nana and what I was going to do to help her,” Stiers said. “I’ve always thought about that one question: ‘If you win so much money, what are you going to do with it?’ And she’s helped me a lot in my life, so pay it forward.” Read more.

‘Gatekeeper’ Saves 500 from Suicide

Yukio Shige, a retired Fukui Prefectural Police Detective living by the Tojinbo Cliffs in Japan, has prevented more than 500 people from committing suicide. Though a tourist destination, the towering cliffs are a place where many people go to end their lives. The first time he talked down someone from jumping was in 2003 when he met a couple deep in debt. Since then, he has earned the title of Gatekeeper or “chotto matte,” which translates to “wait a moment” man, for continuing to guard the cliffs from those who want to jump. “Gatekeeper,” an intimate documentary about Shige, was released this year and won Best Short Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Read more.

America’s Biggest Mall Brings Thanksgiving Back

The Mall of America announced that it will be closed for Thanksgiving this year. Mall executives want to save the sales for Black Friday, leaving the day before for celebration with family and friends. While retail stores within the mall still have the option to be open on Thanksgiving, more than 13,000 people who work at the mall will have the day off if all stores decide to close. Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior VP of marketing and business development, summed up the initiative perfectly with her simple statement: “We’re excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families.” Read more.

United Nations Organizes Space Mission for Underprivileged Nations

In 2021, the U.N.’s rocket “Dream Chaser” will blast into orbit for a 14-day mission. However, this mission isn’t just for developed nations but will involve scientists from countries that can’t afford the cost of space missions. The goal is to study and experiment with developments ranging from climate change to new materials for space travel. Program coordinators are confident that this mission will lead to progress in both science and global unity. Read more.

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