As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on amidst racial injustice, local wildfires and a looming election, tensions are high. It seems as if more and more negative news headlines are released every day, put a damper on everyday life. The past few months have been difficult for many across the United States, as most have struggled both financially and mentally. This week, I decided to bring some light to these troubling times, compiling a variety of positive news articles focused on happy stories of community and joy.

  • Foo Fighters drummer Dave Grohl has been engaging in a virtual drum battle with a ten-year-old British girl via Twitter. After posting videos back and forth, Grohl posted an original theme song he wrote specifically for the girl, captioning it “Every superhero needs a theme song.” The video has garnered over 2 million views and the young Nandi Bushell has posted her adorable reaction.
  • Simply to bring joy to his community members, a Wisconsin farmer planted over 2 million sunflowers on his family farm. Scott Thompson, the owner of Thompson Strawberry Farm, decided to plant sunflowers during the pandemic for the many tourists who fled the city for farm country. As city families migrate toward the open road, Thompson only charges $25 for a carload of customers to pick up to a dozen flowers each.
  • To bring awareness to racial injustice, singer Jaden Smith has created a Snap Original series called The Solution Committee. In this unscripted, eight episode series, he plans to address issues like police reform, climate change, economic justice, housing and many more. Premiering Sept. 21 on Snapchat, some members of his celebrity crew have already signed on as guest stars, including Hailey Bieber, Yara Shahidi and Common.
  • Kismet the Chihuahua spends every day at his owner’s Bay Area Dental Office helping comfort patients through anxiety. The pup’s owner, Dr. Cameron Garrett, has found that patients who pet animals have a lower blood pressure, which helps with children fearful of the dentist’s chair.
  • Denver has recently implemented their Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program, where mental health professionals respond to non-violent 911 phone calls over instead of the police. After one week of implementation, the team has responded to 350 calls and is yet to need police backup, freeing officers up to respond to more serious emergencies. The success of this program offers opportunity across the country, where police budgets can be better distributed.
  • A truck loving toddler received a drive-by trash truck parade on his third birthday! Three-year-old Wolfgang Reader loves his toy garbage trucks, and during stay-at-home orders he would look forward to every Friday morning when his local garbage men would take his home’s trash. He then befriended two of his neighborhood’s garbage men, Drew and D.J., who surprised him on his birthday bearing gifts and a small yellow vest, just like they wear.
  • Two homeless friends wake up every morning to clean litter off San Diego’s Ocean Beach. A New Jersey man named Mark Pacana watches San Diego’s surf live streams religiously, where he saw David Hendon and Marc Gervais exit their beachside van-which they were living in-each morning to clean up trash. Pacana contacted a local news station in hopes he could thank them for their dedication to the environment with no knowledge of their living situation or past battle with addiction. Since the story broke, viewers have raised over $30,000 for the friends via GoFundMe.
  • A local Texas woman distributes homemade cards to travelers at the Houston airport to lift their spirits and spread joy. For the past three years, Catharine Knight and her son have been making cards and writing messages for total strangers, a hobby she has taken to her local airport during the pandemic as she travels for work.

Hi! I'm Riley Hetherington, a sophomore Communication Studies major from San Diego. I love spending time at the beach, with my family, and reading the Loyolan!

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