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:

Israelis and Palestinians of all ages gathered in Jerusalem recently for a unifying night of backgammon, music and dancing. (Irris Makler/CBC)
Israelis and Palestinians of all ages gathered in Jerusalem recently for a unifying night of backgammon, music and dancing. (Irris Makler/CBC)

In Times of Tension, a Board Game Prevails

When it comes to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, many people might imagine a solution involving firearms or explosives. One peace group is providing another alternative: backgammon. As one of the oldest board games in the world, backgammon drew together groups of different people in a Jerusalem restaurant. Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, and men and women all play opposite each other in peaceful nights of play. “We are offering a human solution, where people realize there is a human being facing them,” says Israeli organizer Idai Goldschmitt. Read more.

Classmates Celebrate Adoption

It was the first day of school AND the first day 10-year-old Abby would officially become a Novotny. Abby’s teachers and classmates traveled to Milwaukee County children’s court with cards and gifts to celebrate her adoption. She was surrounded by fellow students, teachers, siblings, and other family members, said Anne Novotny, Abby’s adoptive mother. “She could hardly stop smiling.” Abby started the new school year with a new surname and lots of love. Read more.

A Fitting Birthday Present for a Grandma in Love with Song and Dance

For her entire life, Maureen St. Pierre lived and breathed musical theater. She shared that love with her children who then passed it on their own children. So for her 85th birthday, St. Pierre became the recipient of one of the most energetic surprises of all: a family flashmob! The birthday performance featured the songs “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” from the musical Hello Dolly and “YMCA.” “This was one of my best birthdays in my 85 years,” St. Pierre said. Read more.

Student Wins Entire Class an A on Chemistry Test by Making a Ridiculous Shot

Every year, Ohio State University chemistry students have one chance to get an A on their first quiz without doing any work. All they have to do is throw a crumpled piece of paper the length of a lecture hall and make it into a trash can. And you only get one shot. The odds are always against them, but this year student Vinny Forte surprised everyone and earned his whole class an easy A. Read more.

With a Little Help from My Donkey

We’ve all learned about the benefits of therapy dogs to lift spirits and provide comfort and calm, but what about therapy donkeys? Steven Stiert is the owner of the Donkey Farm in upstate New York, which has become a popular spot for hosting meetups for those in need of a little comfort. Stiert has even lent his donkey to nursing homes and in one instance, to a man going through end-stage Alzheimer’s. “They’re very kind animals, sweet, thoughtful,” Stiert says. “Their nature helps us get more back in touch with a calm state of mind and a simple way of life.” Read more.

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