Brighten your rainy day with some of our favorite stories this week!
Students Celebrate Janitor’s Birthday: Students from Pike County Elementary School in Zebulon, Georgia threw the celebration of a lifetime last month. The school of 800 students came together to surprise their janitor, Haze Mabry, for his 80th birthday. Mabry has worked at the school for the last 13-years and has said he feels like each one of the students is his own. His care for the kids has made him well loved, and the students wanted to do something special for his birthday. When Mabry entered the building, he was greeted by a line of students chanting his name. They began handing him cards, holding up banners, and singing him happy birthday. He had so many cards that some students had to follow him and collect the cards in buckets. “It may be his birthday, but we are the ones who receive a gift—the gift of having him in our school, lives, and hearts,” the school wrote on Facebook. “This is the good stuff! Mr. Haze, you sir are loved, admired, and adored here at PCES.”
Laundromats Host Story Time to Improve Literacy: Too Small to Fail, an initiative dedicated to improving child literacy, has found ways to serve families in common community spaces. Taking books, educational toys, and reading groups to places like the local laundromat, the group has found ways to maximize the time that would otherwise be overlooked. The group’s partnership with laundromat owners has allowed them to convert areas for reading every weekend. Though they serve families of every background, the initiative has proven effective in closing the literacy gap between children of different socioeconomic statuses, according to a recently conducted survey. “We have the right audience … parents and kids who need the most help when it comes to literacy and access to books,” Brian Wallace, president and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association, told Education Week. “Rather than watch the socks tumble … use that time and make it more productive.”
School Provides Solace for Students After-Hours: Principal Akbar Cook was determined to provide a safe place for his students at West Side High School. Instead of having them on the streets, surrounded by violence and gangs, he launched the Lights On program at the school. Every Friday after classes, the school remains open and offers access to various activities and clubs run by volunteers. During the summer, the school is open three evenings a week. They even provide meals to ensure the kids are fed. Taking this initiative one step further, Cook also installed a laundry facility within the school so underprivileged students could have clean clothes. Since opening the laundry room, attendance has improved by 10%. The amenities added by Cook have proven to be effective and very popular among the students.
Teenagers Stop to Help Wounded Man: Five teenagers from Caldwell, Idaho completed an act of kindness last month. On their way to play basketball, the boys noticed an elderly man fall to the ground. Isaac Hernandez, the driver, immediately stopped the vehicle so they could help. Once they got him up, they insisted on walking him home to make sure he was okay. While they didn’t realize it, another bystander noticed their kindness and captured a few photos. Erika Tovar was driving when she noticed the man fall in her rearview mirror. She turned around to help, only to realize that the boys were already there. She then snapped the pictures and shared them on Facebook. The post quickly gained attention and garnered praise for the boys. Several businesses even gave the boys gifts for their actions. The boys say they didn’t think they would be praised and just did it to be a good neighbor. “We didn’t do it for the attention, we just did it out of the kindness of our hearts,” Hernandez told KTVB. “I think it makes us all feel good because we are out here helping other people… and we don’t expect anything in return.” Since then, the group has visited the man several times and they plan on making many more in the future.