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Mar 17, 2021 Read in Browser

Karuna News

Studies have shown that heart rates synchronize when two or more people trust each other or sing together. Around the world, the past year of pandemic has strikingly reminded us how deeply we are all connected, and how vital it is to be to lift each other up. This week's feature stories invite us to witness the power of being "a presence of hope and compassion" for others, with whatever we have -- whether in showing up for dozens of abandoned cats, quietly feeding thousands without even owning a car to transport groceries, finding creative ways to visit an isolated parent, pivoting school chemistry lab into home kitchens, or offering an impromptu world-class music performance for strangers!

EVERYDAY HEROES

10 Years After Fukushima Disaster, A Man Is Still Living There Taking Care Of Animals Left Behind

10 Years After Fukushima Disaster, A Man Is Still Living There Taking Care Of Animals Left Behind

Mustafa Ezz | Pexels

A decade ago, Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue cats abandoned by neighbors who fled the radiation clouds belching from the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant. He won’t leave. “I want to make sure I am here to take care of the last one,” he said from his home in the contaminated quarantine zone. He is looking after 41 cats and has buried another 23. Kato says that his decision to stay as 160,000 other people evacuated the area was spurred in part by the shock of finding dead pets in abandoned houses he helped demolish. The cats also gave him a reason to stay on land that has been owned by his family for three generations. “I don’t want to leave. I like living in these mountains,” Kato said. Read Full Story.

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EVERYDAY HEROES

Miami Janitor Quietly Feeds Thousands. Love Is The Reason.

Miami Janitor Quietly Feeds Thousands. Love Is The Reason.

Marta Lavandier | AP Photo

In Miami, Fla., Doramise Moreau, 60, is in her kitchen every Friday past midnight boiling lemon peels, cooking dried beans and spicing entrees that accompany the yellow rice she delivers to a Miami church. Since the start of the pandemic, Moreau has single-handedly cooked 1,000 meals a week simply as an act of love. A widow who lives with her children, nephew, and three grandchildren in a home built by Habitat for Humanity in 2017, Moreau works part-time as a school janitor. But what gets her up in the morning is feeding the hungry, an act that traces back to her childhood in Haiti, when she'd scour food items in her family's pantry to give to someone in need. Decades later, she borrows the church truck to buy groceries for her weekly massive meal offering, and she even feeds relatives and neighbors in her hometown of Port-au-Prince by sending food pallets monthly and instructing her sister to "make sure this person gets a bag of rice and that person gets the sardines," the Associated Press reports. Up until February 2021, Moreau did all her work without a car. Last month, she was surprised with a new Toyota Corolla through a local anti-poverty initiative where community leaders nominate residents known for community service. "She takes care of everybody from A to Z,” said Reginald Jean-Mary, pastor at her church. “She’s a true servant. She goes beyond the scope of work to be a presence of hope and compassion for others." Read Full Story.

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ELDERS

Daughter Takes Job At Nursing Home To See Dad During Pandemic

Daughter Takes Job At Nursing Home To See Dad During Pandemic

Good Samaritan Society via GMA

In Stillwater, Minn., one daughter went above and beyond to spend time with her father. Shortly after Harold Racine, 87, moved to Good Samaritan Society elderly care home, the coronavirus pandemic hit. When the weather got too cold to visit her father by window, Lisa found herself looking for other options to spend time with him. When Lisa found out there was a job opening at the home, she went through the interview process and was offered the position. "It is very nice to see them together," said her cousin, Rene Racine, who also works as the nursing home administrator. When Lisa's dad learned his daughter took the job, "he was so excited and so happy that he was going to have a family member here. He was really surprised that she would do that, because she does have a full-time job," Rene added. Lisa works at Good Samaritan a few nights a week as a nutrition assistant, after her day job at a printing company. She preps desserts, sets the tables, and serves meals to residents. When she clocks out, she sits with her dad to talk, and they videochat with family members together. Read Full Story.

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SCHOOLS

Science Teacher Brings Chemistry To Students' Kitchens

Science Teacher Brings Chemistry To Students' Kitchens

Jonte Lee via CNN

When schools moved online for the pandemic, one public school science teacher wanted to make his chemistry labs as interactive and accessible as possible. Jonte Lee of Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C., began livestreaming his lessons on Instagram and Facebook in April 2020 at the suggestion of his principal, Semanthe Bright. "Our thought behind it was, students know how to use Instagram, they know how to use Facebook," Lee said, adding that he "wanted to meet the students where they were." When online school rolled around in fall 2020, Lee began running chemistry labs with items that could be found in most kitchens. One of his most popular lessons instructs how to make ice cream in three different ways. "And if there's something a student doesn't have, I don't mind shipping it to the student," he told them. Lee, who became known as "The Kitchen Chemist," has even bought and delivered backpacks, school supplies and Amazon Fire tablets to each of his students, pouring his summer school teaching salary into the great kitchen chemistry lab experience. Read Full Story.

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ARTS

Yo-Yo Ma Transforms Waiting Period Into Performance At Vaccination Clinic

Yo-Yo Ma Transforms Waiting Period Into Performance At Vaccination Clinic

Berkshire Community College Facebook via The Berkshire Eagle

When world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on March 13th, he transformed his 15-minute observation period following the jab into a powerful performance for others in the waiting area. Wanting to give back, he sat masked and socially-distanced with his cello, and playing music for 15 minutes to an applauding audience at the end of a full day of vaccinations. "What a way to end the clinic," wrote Richard Hall of the Berkshire Covid-19 Vaccine Collaborative in Massachusetts. Incidentally, the day also happened to be exactly one year after Yo-Yo Ma posted his first recording under the hashtag #SongsOfComfort with the intention to bring solace and connection to a world grappling with uncertainties of pandemic. In September 2020, the distinguished musician also surprised essential workers with a series of pop-up concerts. Read Full Story.

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