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:

MLK Day of Service: Focus on We Instead of Me

When Congress designated Martin Luther King Jr. day a national day of service in 1994, communities around the world took the call to action to heart. The spirit of service was evident in east Dallas this past Monday, when several dozen volunteers spent the holiday getting their hands dirty building a community garden at Bayles elementary school. Parents of students will receive cooking classes, have the opportunity to volunteer at the garden, and receive 10 pounds of produce each month, all part of the mission of leading healthier, happier lives. Read more.

“Take One, Leave One” Coat Rack Keeps Those in Need Warm

When a wave of cold hit Dallas, Emilia Flores took action. For the second year in a row, the owner of “The Taco Stop” in Dallas set up a coat rack outside her store front with a sign that reads, “Are you cold? Take one. Do you want to help? Leave one.” Flores wants to make sure nobody feels cold this winter. “This is a way of people not being embarrassed about asking,” Flores says. “They just come and pick what they need and leave.” Read more.

Octavia Spencer Sponsors Screening of ‘Hidden Figures’ for Low-Income Families

In celebration of MLK weekend, “Hidden Figures Star” Octavia Spencer rented out an entire movie theater to give disadvantaged communities the opportunity to see the film, which tells the stories of the African American women who worked behind the scenes at NASA to send astronaut John Glenn into orbit. “My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings” Spencer said in an instagram post. “So, I’m honoring her and all single parents this #mlkweekend.” Read more.

Hitchhiking Baby Raccoons Find Temporary Home at Oakland Zoo

After a cross-country road trip in the back of a moving van and several months in a wildlife hospital, five baby raccoons are calling the Oakland Zoo home. Their stay will likely be temporary, while a permanent home is found, but the raccoons are having the time of their lives climbing, crawling, and tumbling in their new digs. Read more.

Obamas Visit New Home of Family Swing Set

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Obama and the First Lady paid a visit to the Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter in Washington, D.C., the recipient of the play set that was used by their daughters and other children visiting the White House over the last eight years. The Obamas worked on a mural at the shelter, spent time with the children there, and the president helped one little girl perfect her swinging skills. Read more.

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