#983 Harry Potter fans are changing the world

Logo of the Harry Potter Alliance, courtesy of the alliance

For all the years of the Harry Potter phenomenon, young fans carried around thick books and waited at the doors of their favourite book stores for the next heavy tome. As a former librarian, I was thrilled by the enthusiasm…


#960 The child with 5 names and 3 parents

Seed heart

A lesbian couple in Vancouver, British Columbia, has made history with their baby’s birth certificate. Three people are listed as Della Wolf Kangro Wiley Richards’ parents. Danielle Wiley and Anna Richards are the baby’s mother. Shawn Kangro is the child’s…


#958 Pakistan’s living saint

Sir Abdul Sattar Edhi

Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation has one of the finest tag lines I have come across: “No religion is higher than humanity.” If every true believer, of any stripe, really believed that, the world would be transformed by empathy. OK, so maybe…


#948 Homes for the chronically homeless

Monarch butterfly cocoon

Most jurisdictions wring their hands over homelessness but leave alleviating it to the voluntary sector, jails and prisons, and hospital emergency awards. In 2005 Utah’s Governor Jon Huntsman announced a different approach, a plan to end chronic homelessness in 10…


#918 Couple’s future rescued by social media

Naomi Clarke

The NaPaul Photographics Web site shows two talented young people skilled at capturing special moments and special places, even if what is before the camera’s eye would look ordinary without their powers of observation. The Adelaide, South Australia couple recently…


#917 Dance breaks down their prison walls

Photo of Susan Slotnick and four members of Figures in Flight Released dance company

At 68 Susan Slotnick is not interested in retiring. She has dancers to train. It is what she has been doing for decades with children, teens and adults in New Paltz, New York. But for the past seven years she…


#910 Saved by books…and high expectations

Dr. Ben Carson

Before he retired from a distinguished career in neurosurgery, Dr. Ben Carson pioneered the incredibly difficult surgical separation of craniopagus (joined at the head) twins. His success with other challenging brain surgeries moved him to the top of his field.…


#906 Brené Brown lightens our loads

Brené Brown delivering TED talk on vulnerability

With less than 100 postings to go to reach my goal of 1001 hope-FULL reasons for optimism, I’m going through the thousands (literally) of possibilities in my files and trying to decide which simply must be included. That is not…


#899 Beauty in imperfection

Jasmin Rechsteiner, Miss Handicap 2010

Although no one’s body is perfect, people whose bodies have unexpected curves, missing pieces, odd bulges, interesting tics or unusual twists know the isolation of The Other. A Swiss organization called Pro Infirmis is working to change that by narrowing…

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