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Jun 8, 2022 Read in Browser

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“Let our hearts be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path.” -- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Greetings! Among the stories this week, a 6th grade boy, feeling rejected because no one would sign his yearbook, was the beneficiary of three generous and compassionate upperclassmen and eventually hundreds of others. This week's news remind us of what ‘compassion in action’ looks like and how, when offered, it brings hope to schools and humanity. May our hearts offer compassion inside and out this week. Have a good one!

YOUTH

Fellow Students Wouldn't Sign His Yearbook, So High School Students Stepped In

Fellow Students Wouldn't Sign His Yearbook, So High School Students Stepped In

Mei-Ling Mirow | Unsplash

When his classmates wouldn't sign his yearbook, Brody Ridder, a sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, said it made him feel "useless," especially after a tough school year due to bullying. So he wrote a note to himself: "Hope you make some more friends. — Brody Ridder." It was hard to read, said his mother, Cassandra. She posted a photo to a Facebook group for parents, who shared it with their children. Three upperclassmen set out to help, rounding up students to sign Brody's yearbook even though none had ever met him. They walked into his classroom and there was a lineup to sign his yearbook. Many of the more than 100 signatures included paragraphs with words of encouragement, advice and even phone numbers. Then his classmates began signing. "It made me feel like there's hope for the school, there's hope for humanity and there's a lot of good kids in this world," his mother said. Read Full Story.

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TECHNOLOGY

Germany Offers A Summer Of Affordable Trains

Germany Offers A Summer Of Affordable Trains

Jannik Kiel | Unsplash

The German parliament is slashing public transit fares nationwide this summer, offering a glimpse of what a lower-emission future might look like, even if it is a response to higher energy costs caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The ultra-cheap fares might encourage Germans to permanently adopt less carbon-intensive travel modes. For three months starting on June 1, a single month's travel ticket will cost just 9 euros ($9.56) for all subways, buses, trams, and regional trains. While faster intercity train services are not included, 9-euro ticketholders can still be able to travel the whole country using regional services, and tickets bought in one region will be valid nationally. To further address rising energy bills, working adults will have a one-off 300-euro payment added to their wages; self-employed will pay less tax. Parents with small children will receive 100 euros per child, a figure doubled for parents receiving public assistance. Read Full Story.

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COMMUNITY

Nonprofits Buy And Build Apartments To Keep Housing Affordable

Nonprofits Buy And Build Apartments To Keep Housing Affordable

SHAPEM

The stately greystone building used to be a retirement home for nuns in Montreal, Quebec. In December 2019, they sold it to SHAPEM, a non-profit organization that creates and manages inclusive, sustainable community housing. "We'll be housing people with low incomes, the elderly, have a daycare, it's really mixed," says Jean-Pierre Racette, SHAPEM's general director. With the help of the FTQ Solidarity Fund, SHAPEM paid about $2.5 million for the building, which they will gut to create about 80 units of affordable housing, and turn the large yard into a community park. SHAPEM is one of about a dozen organizations in Montreal working to keep housing affordable that, together, have either bought or built about 23,800 housing units over the last 30 years; 6,200 more are on the way. But there's a big need still. In Montreal, about 40,000 people are on a waiting list for social or affordable housing. Read Full Story.

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EVERYDAY HEROES

Former Syrian Refugee Volunteers To Treat Ukrainian War Victims

Former Syrian Refugee Volunteers To Treat Ukrainian War Victims

A Syrian refugee who fled to England and became a doctor nine years ago recently used his annual leave to treat Ukrainian refugees and war victims. Dr. Tirej Brimo arrived in Britain in 2013 after fleeing Syria's civil war while he was in his final year of medical school. Now, he has chosen to "stand up for what he believes in"by treating hundreds of patients in Ukraine as part of a volunteer medical team. Brimo used his annual leave to volunteer for seven weeks on the Ukraine/Poland border and in Ukraine's western city of Lviv. He helped establish a medical clinic near Lviv's main train station, where thousands of refugees passed through as they fled war in the east partof the country. Reflecting on his work in Ukraine, he said, "Amid this difficult situation hundreds of good-hearted volunteers tried their absolute best to make life a little bit easier for their fellow humans." Read Full Story.

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SCHOOLS

We Can All Be Everyday Heroes, Says Educator Whose Hug Averted A School Shooting

We Can All Be Everyday Heroes, Says Educator Whose Hug Averted A School Shooting

Adrianna Geo | Unsplash

Keanon Lowe, who stopped a potential mass shooting in 2019 at Parkrose High School in Oregon, downplays the idea he was a hero. He says anyone can be an "everyday hero." When he saw the young man with a shotgun, he saw a young man in pain crying out for help. "He didn't see any other way out except to harm himself and that's just such a sad situation," he says in his autobiography, Hometown Victory. His students' struggles put his problems into perspective. "I was coaching and mentoring kids that went through much more than I did." When people saw the video, they saw that a hug and love, not a tackle, saved the day. He says he wrote the book to honor Taylor Martinek, his best friend at Jesuit High School, where few students looked like Lowe. After high school, they went separate ways to play football. But when Martinek, his biggest fan, died of an opioid overdose, Lowe left the NFL and came to Parkrose High. Read Full Story.

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