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:

Recycled Christmas Trees Spruce Up the Post-Holiday Season

Christmas trees deliver a lot of joy throughout the holiday season, but they can continue to delight long after the needles start to fall. Aside from mulching, there are a few creative ways to give your Christmas tree a second life this year. One idea? Take your expired spruce to a local farm or animal sanctuary, where goats and cows will happily munch on the trees (whose needles are rich in Vitamin C and act as a natural dewormer). And those living in Texas can donate their expired trees to help provide a cane to a veteran in need. U.S. Army veteran Jamie Willis crafts supportive and stylish canes out of old Christmas trees with Canes for Veterans Central Texas, ensuring that the spirit of giving continues year-round!

Twitter Delivers a Christmas Miracle

Social media’s power was wielded for good over the holidays. When “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” creator and star Rachel Bloom, who is seven months pregnant, and her husband were stranded in Bakersfield, CA after a snowstorm, they tweeted asking for a place to stay. They were saved from sleeping in a Denny’s parking lot by local couple Kate Brogdon and Steve Porfiri, who tweeted back inviting the couple to stay in their home for the night. Bloom thanked the family with a humorous message on Instagram, saying “You gave shelter to a pregnant lady wandering from inn to inn last night. When my child is born as the inevitable Messiah, you will all be honored with golden steeds and flaming swords.” Read more.

New Rockette Breaks Barriers as First With Visible Disability

The Radio City Rockettes are a historic dance troupe, and this year, they’re making history for a different reason. The organization has cast 22-year-old Sydney Mesher, who is the first Rockette in their 94-year history to have a visible disability. Mesher does not have a left hand due to a rare congenital condition called Symbrachydactyly, but that hasn’t slowed her dance career down or stopped her from taking center stage during the Christmas Spectacular. While Mesher says she doesn’t view her disability as “that challenging,” she recognizes the importance of her casting: “Being a Rockette, and being a Rockette with one hand — I am groundbreaking in that sense. I need to be in this position to let others have that opportunity.” Read more.

Watch: Kids Make the Darndest Resolutions

“Be nice.” “Do my chores without being reminded.” “Run faster.” These are excellent New Year’s resolutions for any age, but these inspired goals are all from the mouths of little ones. A reporter from Washington, D.C. sat down with kids to find out what they resolved to do better in 2020, and boy did they have pearls of wisdom. If those weren’t enough to inspire you, watch as one kid the reports about a hot new toy that looks more like a monster who tracks you down when you don’t complete your resolution. Watch here.

When Lifting Weights Lifts up a Community

If you’re looking to up your fitness game this year, prepare to be inspired by the first ever CrossFit competition held in a prison. The Inaugural 2019 Redemption Road Invitational at Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, CO, paired civilians with “insiders” and staff to compete in a series of workouts as a way to raise money to purchase new workout equipment for their gym. After a long day of working up a sweat, Redemption Road more than tripled their initial goal, raising more than $13,000. In the eyes of their CEO, Police Sgt. Aaron Brill, seeing the community come together was the real success, since it reminds participants that they still hold value and have something to contribute to society. That definitely deserves a fist bump! Read more.

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