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The High Five (Sept. 4)

Good news doesn’t often make it to the front pages, but that doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening.

Even as we raise awareness for the plight of the “least of these,” seek to fight injustice in the world and argue over important issues, we’d do well to remember that while the world can seem cold and uncaring, individuals can do a lot of good. Here are five stories of just that:

More Than 11,000 People in Iceland Volunteered to House Syrian Refugees

There has been plenty of tragedy and bad news in the ongoing refugee crisis. But even as some European governments shut their doors, many citizens are offering to open theirs. Last week, a group of strangers on the Internet raised tens of thousands of dollars to help a refugee family start a new life. A website some have called “Airbnb for refugees” matches up refugees with locals willing to take them in. German soccer teams have invited refugees to games and launched projects to help refugees relocate in Germany. This week, after the government in Iceland said it would only accept 50 refugees, over 11,000 Icelanders offered to house refugees. The outpouring of support prompted the government to rethink its position, and a committee is now discussing increasing quotas.

Here’s a list of some ways you can get involved with helping those who have been forced to flee their homes.

A Man Gathered a Group of Friends to Help His Elderly Neighbor Fix His Roof

After David Perez spotted his 75-year-old neighbor, Richard Dubiel, attempting to repair his roof alone, Perez appealed to his network on Facebook for people with roofing experience to come help. Less than a week later, Perez had gathered a group of 15 people who chipped in to finish the project. Others donated food and drinks for the volunteer workers. “I couldn’t believe it when this fella knocked on my door and said he wanted to help for free,” Dubiel told KTVU. “What a gesture.”

A Woman Donated Her Kidney to a Single Mom She’d Never Met

Akiba Allen is a 40-year-old single mom of three who suffers from various health issues, including low kidney function. Tired of spending eight hours a day on dialysis while also working and taking care of her kids, Allen wrote a letter on a website that connects patients with kidney failure to volunteer organ donors. One of the donors, Sara Fleming, was touched by Allen’s story and decided to respond to the request, even though she had never met Allen and lived several states away. The two met for the first time in the hospital the day before the operation, and exchanged a tearful hug and thank yous. The transplant went smoothly and both patients are recovering well.
If I needed a kidney, or one of my loved ones did, and we weren’t a match for each other, I would have to rely on a stranger to help us out, Sara said. “How could I expect somebody else to do that if I’m not willing to do it myself?”

Construction Workers Left an Inspiring Message for a Toddler Battling Cancer

Two-year-old Vivian was recently diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia and started undergoing treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The hospital is under renovation, and Vivian likes to watch the construction and wave to the workers. Two of the workers decided to leave her an uplifting message, writing “get well soon” on one of the beams. Later, the workers were able to visit Vivian and her family in the hospital. Vivian’s mom said the message and the visit really made Vivian’s day. “I thank them so much for making Vivian’s visit so much better,” she told KSDK.

See Also

Mister Rogers is Now on Netflix

Along with Moonrise Kingdom, The Walking Dead (season 5), Gotham and VeggieTales in the House, the first season of the classic children’s series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is now streaming on Netflix. Go ahead and plan to binge-watch it for daily uplifting reminders such as: “You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.” Awww.

Bonus:

Congratulations to Vinod Kumar Chaudhary, who set the new Guiness World Record for the fastest nose typing. May you always enjoy the satisfaction of having a very unique and unexpected party trick.

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