We're starting this year off with a great story - and we're taking you to Denver, Colorado for it. The Denver Day Works program was launched just over a year ago, in November 2016. Roughly 284 people worked at least a day, and about all of them stuck around longer, performing duties and assignments all over the city. Of course they are paid for their services - more than $12 an hour.
However, the real story doesn't stop there. Due to this, 110 of them found full-time work landing project-based city jobs and dozens more seeking out employment opportunities from other employers around the city. One particular man, Jeffrey Maes, spent four years living on the streets prior to landing a full-time job retrofitting lighting at Denver's Central Library.
"When you take a good person (who's) down, broken, discouraged, and you give them an opportunity to be proud of their self — to stand up and do something for their self — that"s one of the greatest gifts anybody can give to anybody," Maes told the Denver Post. "And for that, I"d like to say thank you."
Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock has been a great asset to making this program work and states "[These results] shows what we've known all along — that people experiencing homelessness are no different from other city residents. They are hungry for the opportunity to work hard to achieve their personal dreams and to take their self-sufficiency in their own hands."
The movement will only gain momentum from here on as the Denver Day Works will expand this year by lengthening it's three-day work week to four, and getting even more departments of the city involved. We're excited to see the results and what this can bring forth.
Sources from here.
A beautiful display was showcased in Middletown, Connecticut last week, and just in time for Christmas. Friends and families were so grateful for another year with Wreaths Across America who came to lay wreaths at the graves of soldiers.
Wreaths Across America is a national program that pays tribute to our veterans to ensure they are remembered and honored during the holiday season. Until this year, they were never able to raise enough donations to collect wreaths for all the veterans buried in Middletown’s cemetery in the ten years they had been coming. This year volunteers were able to collect 9,600 wreaths, and it is quite an elegant site to see. Some families came early to put unique wreaths on grave stones which made the whole cemetery that much more beautiful.
Wreaths Across America says this is much more than decorating a grave, it’s about remembering the lives lost. John Casey, a Vietnam veteran and also co captain of the Patriot Guard Riders in Connecticut stated; “When you go to each grave and you put it down, you read out their name so that when you say the name you remember that person.”
The event was filled with a record number of volunteers, making it a wonderfully moving and magnificent day for everyone who took part, and for all veterans being honored this Christmas season.
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a wonderful time to take a step back from rushing around the malls and smile at all the people doing amazing things for others this holiday season. Going down to Florida for this Spotlight, Rollins College student Mark Gagnon decided to make a family of strangers this Christmas in downtown Orlando.
Mark decided to bring his living room out to a street corner, fully furnished with couches, a Christmas tree, a fireplace, family photos, and…Christmas gifts! This cozy set up caught loads of people’s attention, and those intrigued enough to stop by and say hello were happily surprised with a gift to take home.
Mark’s welcoming invitation brought along several strangers who shared stories about favorite memories over the years during the holiday season. From heartfelt stories of spending Christmas with grandparents, to decorating for the first time for a foster child, to best Christmases with moms, it’s amazing how the one thing all these strangers had in common wasn’t what gift they loved the most, but their love and thanks for family when it comes to Christmas.
There’s nothing like the light and fun feeling of being a kid again, and this is exactly what Mark was able to give others this year. Thank you for reminding us all how grateful we are for our families, and how even a stranger on the street can be a new friend and someone to make smile.
Watch the full video here!
Cherry Hill, New Jersey was buzzing a bit more than usual this black Friday with the help of a truly admirable secret Santa. Charlie K decided to spend this year’s black Friday giving rather than buying for himself. Arriving at the Toys “R” Us in town, Charlie and his son happily surprised the store and its shoppers when he picked up the tab for 60 layaway orders, totaling over $10,000.
This heartwarming act was inspired by Charlie’s love for his community and wanting to fulfill some Christmas wishes for people. The Cherry Hill community is so glad to have someone like this to look up to and be thankful for this season. Families in the store who witnessed this remarked at how incredible this act of kindness was, and were inspired by Charlie’s desire to make others happy.
One lucky woman named Stephanie Dawson came to the store to find out she was one of the customer’s whose order was paid for by Charlie. This meant seven gifts for all of her grandchildren. Others who stepped forward say it’s been the best feeling to find out their secret Santa was looking out for them, and are so thankful.
“I’m trying to bring some happiness to people, to the community that brought happiness to me and my family,” he told CBS 3. “I love this community and I am trying to provide back to it.” – Charlie K.
In addition to this generous gesture, Charlie also purchased $2,000 worth of items to donate for Toys for Tots. Thank you for being Cherry Hill’s holiday angel this year, Charlie. To all our readers, as 2017’s Christmas season approaches and you remember all that you’re grateful for, what is one small act of kindness you can do to change a life?
Sourced from here.
Fair warning, you may shed a tear at this Everyday Hero story. Richard and Elizabeth fell in love with their new dog, Chi Chi and have never looked back since. After Chi Chi was found with her legs tied up, abandoned in a trash can, she was placed in a kennel in South Korea. A video of Chi Chi caught the couple’s attention and once they saw her smiling and wagging her tail, they were ready to give her a new loving home. Not even knowing if Chi Chi would ever be able to walk, Richard and Elizabeth were hardly phased and had their hearts set on making a better life for this pup.
In March, 2016, Chi Chi arrived in the U.S as a super vulnerable dog. They rigged up little booties out of socks and bandages in place of prosthetics, and each day when they put on her boots she feels the freedom any other dog would. Chi Chi was even lucky enough to gain a brother and sister, when Richard and Elizabeth decided to adopt two more dogs named Harry and Kipper. These two were adopted from Beagle Freedom Project, an organization that helps rescue dogs from laboratory testing.
After succeeding through several therapy dog programs, Chi Chi moved on to Ability 360, a sports and fitness center in Phoenix, Arizona. Here Chi Chi met numerous people who need wheelchairs and are amputees. One lucky guy named Nick who has been an amputee since he was four-years -old, found true companionship and a special connection with Chi Chi.
Today, Elizabeth says Chi Chi has turned into the happiest, most loving dog who makes the most of her life everyday. She has transformed into a dog who is caring and trusts people again, and now she’s going to give back to people in need of a companion. It doesn’t get more heart-warming than that.