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:

Minneapolis Company Offers ‘Fur-ternity’ Leave

Minneapolis marketing company Nina Hale is offering a benefit quite attractive to dog lovers. Their “Fur-ternity Leave” program gives employees the option to work from home for a week to take care of a new dog or cat. Vice President Allison McMenimen noted that quite a few employees requested working from home or time off to be with a new pet for the crucial first week. The company continually obliged before deciding to make it a formal benefit this past July. “For a lot of people, their pets are their children,” Ms. McMenimen acknowledged. She’s now thinking of getting a furry friend for herself! Read more

NYU Says ‘Bye’ to (Some) Student Loans

New York University is making money moves…for its future students. The school announced that it will offer free tuition for current and future medical school students. According to a university press release, the school hopes this will encourage more lower income students to pursue  medical careers, as well as draw students to pursue less well-paid fields like primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. The funding will come directly from the school’s $600 million endowment. Read more

100 Moms Receive a Special Baby Shower

A Chicago hospital is making sure expecting mothers in the area have the baby showers they deserve. St. Bernard’s Hospital is in a notoriously low-income and high-crime neighborhood, and Evelyn Jones, vice president of nursing services, is determined to give back to the neighborhood where she has worked for 37 years. She started organizing a community baby shower at the hospital, which 125 women attended this year. No mom-to-be is ever turned away, and in addition to gifts, the women receive a catered lunch and education on pertinent topics for new moms, like postpartum care and tips for parenting newborns. Jones puts in the work to make the shower possible, shopping year-round for potential gifts and spending about $1,000 of her own money each year. Read more

Nun Throws Perfect Pitch

We may already have the winner of the next Cy Young award. This week in Chicago, Sister Mary Jo Sobiek impressed fans as she threw the opening pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Dominican nun wore a Marian Catholic jersey and threw a perfect strike across home plate. Ceremonial catcher Lucas Giolito, a pitcher for the White Sox, sang her praises, saying, “That was awesome. She had a whole routine. She had it planned out. I was just lucky to be back there. She threw a perfect pitch.” Read more

Dance Class Welcomes Children of All Abilities

When one mom from North Carolina couldn’t find a dance class that would work for her 7-year-old daughter with autism, she decided to start one herself. Kim Smith’s “Chance to Dance” organization allows all types of special needs kids, high functioning or low functioning, to have a chance at their big moment onstage. The inclusive program is celebrated by parents and children alike. One dad praised the classes, saying, “Every time I see my daughter perform, this big old guy starts crying. It means everything to her.” Smith reaffirms that “anything is possible with these kids, you just have to give them the chance.” Read more

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