July 16: Helping Parents of Preemies

When New Jersey resident Tami C. Gaines’ twins, Trey and Bria, were born prematurely, the babies barely weighed 1 pound 13 ounces, and weren’t expected to live.  Though Gaines was tempted to sink into despair, her two other children helped her discover the strength to cope with what was happening.In the ensuing months, the twins fought numerous health problems including a blood infection (Bria) and heart issues (Trey).  Yet the babies were resilient and survived, though they have lingering me … [Read more...]

July 15: I Shall Not Hate

When Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip killed his three daughters, Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish astonished the world by not calling for revenge.  Though angry and grieved, he called for peace and cooperation so there would be no more needless suffering.His memoir “I Shall Not Hate,” which won a 2011 Christopher Award, follows Dr. Abuelaish through his struggles growing up in Gaza, the friendships he made as the first Palestinian to work in an Israeli hospital, and his realization th … [Read more...]

July 14: A Servant of Justice

Eighty-one-year-old Msgr. Marvin Mottet of Davenport, Iowa, received the 2012 Servant of Justice Award in Washington, D.C.  It came from the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors.According to a story carried in Catholic News Service, Marvin Mottet’s exposure to social action dates back to childhood when he saw his parents helping others during the Great Depression—sharing food with strangers, or waiting for payment on milk deliveries.As a seminarian and then … [Read more...]

July 13: Gentle Healing

A pig named Biscuit, a pony called Bonsai, and a goat named Sophie share a bond with the troubled youngsters who visit the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, California.Ranch founder Ellie Weiner told New York Times writer Karen Jones that she was abused in childhood, but found comfort caring for stray animals: “[They] saved me and healed me.  If they could do that for me, then they could do it for others.”Youngsters who visit the Gentle Barn hear the recovery stories of these animals who, aft … [Read more...]

July 12: The Memory Project

What would lead Madison, Wisconsin’s, Ben Schumaker to visit an orphanage at the base of a volcano in Nicaragua carrying 62 pounds of painted portraits?  A labor of love—one he started in college called The Memory Project.Schumaker told CBS News that he wants to give the orphans “a sense of personal heritage” since they have no parents to give it to them.  The orphans’ photos are taken by someone in their area, then those pictures are sent to Schumaker who sends them to high school art teache … [Read more...]

July 11: IntenCity Summer Service

For most school-age children, summer is a time of rest and rejuvenation.  For 31 middle school students from Indianapolis, the summer months also included volunteering at the IntenCity Summer Service Camp.  Established by Tyler Mayer, the student life director at Bishop Chatard High School, this camp consists of four days of service at various charitable organizations like soup kitchens and centers for those with special needs.“There are a lot of students who have time in the summer, and we t … [Read more...]

July 10: The World Needs Leaders

In his book Developing the Leader Within You, author John C. Maxwell shared several character traits we should all keep in mind if we ever find ourselves in a position of leadership.  He wrote:“The world needs leaders…“Who use their influence at the right times for the right reasons; who take a little greater share of the blame and a little smaller share of the credit; who lead themselves successfully before attempting to lead others; who continue to search for the best answer, not the fa … [Read more...]

July 9: Love is Stronger than Death

Sophie Caldecott relishes the bedtime stories her father read to her when she was growing up—stories by authors like Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis—because they taught her not only about right and wrong, but about love.  In 2011, the now twenty-something Caldecott’s understanding of love reached a deeper level after discovering her father had cancer.Writing in Verily magazine, Caldecott says, “Life seems so fragile back in that hospital waiting room, but I have come to realize that, in fact, it i … [Read more...]