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:

Teen and Her Service Dog Steal Spotlight in High School Play

The Wicked Witch better watch out for this Dorothy. Erin Bischoff, a 17-year-old student at Hasbrouck Heights High School, has a genetic disorder known as brittle bones disease, and uses a wheelchair. Four years ago she was matched with a service dog named Gauge. The two were recently cast as Dorothy and Toto in her high school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Since Gauge is too big for a basket, the school even rewrote some of the play to accommodate for the grown Toto. Erin hopes her role will have a lasting impact. “I really want them just to see me as anyone else who’s on the stage. And that overall, disability should be embraced,” she says. Read more.

Donate Food and Have Your Late Fees Forgiven During National Library Week

Have an overdue book? No worries, National Library Week has you covered. This week, libraries across the country are allowing those with overdue books to bring in pantry goods in return for forgiving late fees. The Food for Fines program will donate these nonperishable items to local food banks. Libraries are also hoping that this project will help to shift the attitude surrounding late fees, since many libraries are beginning to abolish fines so that low-income library-goers won’t be discouraged from taking out books. Read more

Nun With Pitching Prowess Gets Her Own Baseball Card

A nun who became an unlikely baseball star is now getting her very own baseball card. Sister Mary Jo Sobieck from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago went viral after throwing a perfect strike at a Chicago White Sox game during the ceremonial first pitch. Sobieck now will be featured in Topps’ Alex and Ginter trading card series, along with celebrities and athletes from other sports. The nun plans on donating the $1,000 Topps is paying her to her school’s scholarship fund that bears her name. Sobieck’s cards are set to be released on July 17th, and if you’re lucky enough, you may get a card with a small “relic” of her veil. Read more.

Young Female Scientist Helps Make First Image of Black Hole Possible

The National Science Foundation has released the first image of a black hole, and it was all made possible thanks to an amazing woman. Katie Bouman, a 29-year-old imaging scientist, helped develop the algorithm that made it possible to have an image of the black hole, which is 55 million lightyears away and 6.5 billion times larger than the sun. Bouman is being praised all over social media and inspiring women everywhere. Read more.

Education Goes Mobile: Classroom Bus Serves Underprivileged Students

The Five Keys Charter School of San Francisco, California is taking education on the road. The school has converted a bus, which they call the Self-Determination Project bus, into a classroom so that kids living in poor neighborhoods can get safe access to an education. This project targets single parent families lacking the transportation to get their kids to school, and those who are afraid to walk through dangerous areas to get to school. Instead of bringing students to school, the bus acts as a classroom, complete with a library, laptops, desks, and a teacher. There are more than 5,000 students in Five Keys Charter school who are pursuing their education so that they can go to college and get jobs. Read more

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