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Jan 20, 2021 Read in Browser

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With the weight of events across politics and pandemic, protests and polarities around the world these days, the state of human affairs can feel daunting. In such a space, returning back to basics -- to the simplicity of small, natural acts of care -- is more pertinent than ever. This week's stories tune us into elements of the human spirit that resound across divisions. From a 10-year-old's response to violence to a 44-year-old's response to theft, an organization's distribution of 3,000 "love boxes," to a city's stopgap measure to protect two sea lions, to an 107-year-old mother's gift of candy for her 84-year-old daughter -- it's clear that the simple kindnesses embedded in our ways of being can spark so much beyond our usual realms of reference.

EVERYDAY HEROES

When His Bike Was Stolen, He Collected And Fixed Old Bikes And Gave Them Away To People In Need

When His Bike Was Stolen, He Collected And Fixed Old Bikes And Gave Them Away To People In Need

Jahi Chikwendiu | The Washington Post

When someone stole Robbie Pruitt’s mountain bike off of his car rack, he had an unusual response. After learning from a local bike shop that there were very few bikes in stock to buy, he concluded that the person who stole his bike might have been in need of a way to get to work. Pruitt decided that he’d offer to fix anyone’s bike for free and would fix up and give away any bikes donated to him and announced that in a Facebook post. Pruitt has been busy ever since. Thirty bicycles showed up at his townhouse the next day; Pruitt fixed 140 bicycles by the end of 2020 and is still going strong. His favorite part of fixing bicycles is the friendships he makes in the process. Read Full Story.

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YOUTH

'We Need Kindness': 10-year-old Inspires Nation With Letter To Officer Injured In U.S. Capitol

'We Need Kindness': 10-year-old Inspires Nation With Letter To Officer Injured In U.S. Capitol

Johnna Jablonski via ABC News

Watching video news coverage of an officer being crushed by an angry mob breaking into the U.S. Capitol left 10-year-old Emma Jablonski terrified and confused. "She just started crying and started asking, "Why is this happening? Why is this happening to him?'" her mother, Johnna Jablonski, said. Emma said she was confused and wondered "Why are they hurting him when he's just doing his job?" When Jablonski sat down with Emma to help her sort through what she witnessed and what she was feeling, they decided that writing a letter might help. Emma's mother felt that "finding a positive outlet for her to be able to express her opinion and know she has a voice was really important." Jablonski went on to say, "Kindness truly wins over hate." When Emma completed her letter, her mom turned to social media for help in figuring out how to get Emma's letter to the injured officer. Jablonski reached out on Twitter and in short order received a reply from the Washington, D.C., Police Department expressing gratitude for Emma's concern and kindness and saying they would "DM" the mom and child the officer's identity and an address. Within a week, Emma's letter, along with a care package that included a stuffed animal, were on their way to Officer Daniel Hodges. "I was so happy he was okay," Emma said. Her concern, expressed through a small act of kindness, taught her that she too has a voice and can make a difference. "I only thought people who were recognized and were more, like, famous could have their voice be heard," Emma said, "but no, a child from Montana can do that, too." Read Full Story.

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RESOURCES

Love Box Project Aims To Boost The Confidence Of Vulnerable, Isolated Women Amid The Pandemic

Love Box Project Aims To Boost The Confidence Of Vulnerable, Isolated Women Amid The Pandemic

Mary Hawk, Founder of Sheen for She

Since 2018, Toronto-based Sheen for She Foundation has been finding ways to help women in vulnerable situations build confidence and self-esteem. Aimed at women fleeing domestic violence or dealing with issues such as homelessness or mental illness, the nonprofit began by offering free workshops for low-income women, with topics ranging from self-defense to self-care. For many in the target demographic, conditions have become even more difficult during the pandemic. Some may not be able to escape their current situations. For those who seek help at a shelter, the required quarantine may add to their feelings of isolation. To address some of this need, Sheen for She created the Love Box Project. These personalized care packages include food, hygiene basics and self-care items like face masks or nail kits, along with a "letter of love." In the last four months, the organization has distributed more than 3,000 Love Boxes, as well as 400 Love Bags (for kids), to women and children in area shelters. Khadija Kathy Ali of Ernestine's Women's Shelter says of the packages, "A lot of the time, the women are like, 'I'm cut off from my family, and sometimes they don't really care about what's going on with me and my children. But here's a complete stranger who has put a box together of items, thinking about me and thinking about my children,' and it's a big impact." Read Full Story.

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PLANET

New Zealand City Closes Busy Road To Protect Sea Lion Mother And Pup

New Zealand City Closes Busy Road To Protect Sea Lion Mother And Pup

Diana Parkhouse | Unsplash

When residents of Dunedin, the second-largest city in New Zealand, learned that local officials had closed a road just above a popular beach -- for an entire month -- they didn't raise objections. “A New Zealand sea lion and her pup have taken up residence at the golf course next door and are regularly crossing the road to get to the beach,” the city council said in its announcement. “You can still visit the area by foot or bicycle, but please give the sea lions lots of space.... New Zealand sea lions are endangered and one of the rarest sea lion species in the world.” Not only are local residents happy with the closure, some have encouraged the council to make it permanent, in order to extend the protection to other vulnerable wildlife. Dunedin has been a breeding site for the sea lions for nearly 30 summers, and the indigenous Māori consider them a taonga (treasured) species. Read Full Story.

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ELDERS

The Warm Moment A Woman, 84, Gets Candy From Her Mom

The Warm Moment A Woman, 84, Gets Candy From Her Mom

Couleur | Pexels

Apparently, you’re never too old to get candy from you mom, or at least so says the South China Morning Post. This heartwarming video shows the 107-year-old mom bringing candy to her 84-year-old daughter, who is delighted to receive it. Neighbors describe taking Granny, the 107-year-old, to a feast and Granny grabbing enough sweets to bring home for her daughter; they then filmed the sweet moment. “You’re always a child in your parents’ eyes,” says the captioning on the video. Read Full Story.

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