After writing my first “Sharing a Smile” article, I realized I wanted to continue deliberately taking time to seek out good news! Between a rocket launch, Disney singalongs, and everything in-between, these eight stories remind me of the positivity that surrounds us in a chaotic world.
- A Rocket to Remember: On May 30, Americans gathered around their TVs to watch the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida. To make sure their systems meet NASA’s requirements, SpaceX sent NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on a test mission to the International Space Station. Bob and Doug’s mission is open-ended, and they will spend anywhere from one to four months in orbit. Symbolizing the beginning of a new era of American space flight, the launch was historic, as it was the first manned mission from US soil in nearly a decade and SpaceX’s first launch with humans aboard. This video reminds me that there is still plenty of room for adventure and new beginnings in the world; the future is continuing to be built.
- Movie Club Medicine: Millennial filmmakers Ellie Sachs and Matt Starr have used their skills to forge bonds with seniors during quarantine. Knowing that seniors are a vulnerable population facing intense isolation, the New York City residents came up with the idea to start the “Long Distance Movie Club” with quarantined senior citizens. Two senior citizen living communities took Ellie and Matt up on their offer, and residents began watching movies of a bygone era biweekly and discussing them with Ellie and Matt via Zoom. I loved how the movies brought back memories for the seniors. For instance, one woman talked about how movie tickets used to cost 25 cents. Ellie says that “watching old movies…hearing about people’s pasts…in a way, you can find some answers and comfort in the way we have dealt with things in the past.” The seniors love their movie time too and look forward to the socialization aspect, despite social distancing.
- Stars and a Singalong: Disney says that “no matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing…the dream that you wish will come true…” and this singalong is a dream come true for a Disney mega-fan such as myself. ABC Family released a Disney singalong where celebrities joined Zoom to sing Disney hits. We see original Disney movie cast members reprise their original roles and sing hits from their movies, like Josh Gad and Luke Evans singing “Gaston.” Or, see various artists sing popular hits, such as Tori Kelly performing “Colors of the Wind,” or Josh Groban with “You’ve Got a Friend In Me.” Get together with family and friends and enjoy the original singalong, as well as the sequel, from beginning to end.
- “Some Good News” with John Krasinski: While I mentioned SGN in the first article, I love this YouTube channel so much that I felt it was worth mentioning again. Since my last article, John has released more episodes highlighting acts of kindness, generating creative content, and celebrating milestones happening around the world. As a huge Office fan, my favorite episode features a surprise Office-themed Zoom wedding with John as the officiant. And I must mention the SGN graduation that took place, with commencement speakers Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Malala Yousafzai, and Jon Stewart giving advice to the class of 2020. The series is taking a hiatus, but John says in the most recent episode that SGN “will be back,”
- Dolls, Donations, and Honoring Dedication: I grew up collecting American Girl dolls and was heavily invested in the brand, so I was ecstatic to see that they are honoring healthcare workers with a new limited-edition outfit. Doll owners can dress their dolls in scrubs, slip-on shoes, and a matching fabric face mask, emphasizing the importance of healthcare heroes to young girls. Not only that, but for each doll sold, American Girl will donate one doll craft activity book to the First Responders Children’s Foundation. Even before COVID hit, 2020 was a big year for the brand; their doll of the year was the first hearing-impaired doll ever released. Good job, American Girl!
- Caps, Gowns, and…Speedways?: Many high school, college, and graduate students were nervous that graduations would be canceled or held virtually due to COVID-19. However, it seems that many schools are either delaying graduations to be held later, or they are finding creative solutions (social distancing included) to give graduates the celebrations they deserve. For example, Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire, honored graduates with a procession on chairlifts at a local ski area. Meanwhile, a couple of Florida high schools accepted Daytona International Speedway’s offer to hold their graduations at the race track. Each graduate’s family will be allowed a single car, and, after lining up, they will drive over the finish line one-by-one to receive their diploma. Even though these unconventional graduations are not what most seniors envisioned, many are making the best of it. Hunter Perez, a participant in a Daytona graduation, even went so far as to say, “This is something we’re gonna remember forever. This is one for the history books.”
- Library? More Like “Sky”brary: The first library book drone delivery service is now operating! Middle school librarian Kelly Passek’s family received a residential drone delivery from the company Wing in 2019. When thinking about the speedy service, Kelly realized that drones could be used to help students get valuable resources. She and Wing collaborated, and students in her school district can have books delivered simply by choosing a selection from the 150,000 book collection and filling out an online form. Wing is also serving the community by delivering over-the-counter medicines, meals, and snacks; packages are lowered from the drone via a rope to a person’s yard. Kelly says that “free choice reading…is so important to the success of our students, both academically and in life in general. If we can get library resources into their hands, we can help them stay on a path to success.”
- Space, Sea, and Record-Breaking Sullivan: While CBS News space analyst says that 574 people from over 40 nations have gone to space, only eight people have ever reached Challenger Deep—the deepest point in the ocean. Kathy Sullivan was the first American woman to complete a spacewalk, is the first woman to reach Challenger Deep, and as of right now, is the ONLY human to have ever done both. Kathy and pilot Vilot Vescovo took a 10,925-meter dive below the surface of the Pacific Ocean as part of a 5-hour expedition earlier in June. Record-breaking accomplishments that are making strides for humanity are always worth celebrating.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.