By Andrea Cale, The Good News Experiment
WALPOLE, MA — Similar to spotting a treasure during a shopping trip, a pink-and-white rug with a zebra-stripe pattern had caught my attention as I began a tour recently of New Life Furniture Bank in Walpole, Mass. The rug was one of hundreds of items on the floor of the non-profit organization’s donation center, a space featuring extensive rows and organized sections of clean sofas, polished dining tables, sturdy bureaus, full dish sets, cozy bedding, colorful artwork and a wide range of additional items necessary for making a new house or apartment feel like home after homelessness.
The rug, which had been rolled up with the type of care and precision that one would expect to find in a department store, would catch my eye a second time that visit when — near the end of my tour — a New Life Furniture Bank client walked toward the elevator bay beside a dolly carrying that bright carpet, her new carpet, and a variety of additional furniture pieces that she had personally selected at no cost to fill the space of her new home; perhaps with hopes of a new beginning. Read more
Recently, over the summer of 2018, I had the pleasure of interviewing six honorees of Mothers for Justice and Equality (MJE) before they receieved their Courage and Conviction awards, honors given to those who have stood firm in the presence of tragedy and gone on to do extraordinary, inspiring things. Awards were given by MJE President Monalisa Smith aboard The Spirit of Boston ship on a clear, warm summer night that included dinner and dancing. To say that it was an honor to meet these people — most interviews were in person while others took place over the phone and email — is an understatement. Learning about their inspiring work brought me to tears at times. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recognized the honorees in our press releases: “This year's award winners represent the impact one individual can have in creating a profound and positive change within their communities,” said Walsh. “The Courage and Conviction Award recipients have gone above and beyond, selflessly working to better their neighborhoods. I applaud them for their efforts, and thank Mothers for Justice and Equality for recognizing these individuals for their important contributions to our city.” Read more
Tyler and Karla Young reflect on the farming industry’s old and new ways
By Andrea Cale, The Good News Experiment
LITTLE COMPTON, RI — Rhode Island farmers Tyler and Karla Young’s roots run deep along Little Compton’s West Main Road, a dreamy street that features patches of fog, picturesque farmhouses and lush, green land until it reaches the ocean’s edge at nearby Sakonnet Point. Birthplace of the first “Rhode Island Red” hen, the town offers a quiet, comforting glimpse at what life may have looked like in an earlier century. And for Tyler, his personal connections to the road date back to his English ancestors who settled there.
“Everyone down the road here is a relative,” he said with a smile. “My grandparents had a farm nearby called Ferolbink Farms raising potatoes, and I farmed with my grandfather and my uncle for years before I started our farm here.” Read more
Written for The Good News Experiment by Lisa D. Daniels,
Founder and Director of The Darren B. Easterling Center for Restorative Practices in Chicago
Nominated for The Good News Experiment by Monalisa Smith,
Founder and President of Mothers for Justice and Equality in Boston
“So, your Honor, I ask you to please show this young man leniency as you decide his sentence.”
These were the closing words of my victim impact statement to the judge presiding over the sentencing of the young man who was found guilty of the murder of my youngest son, Darren Easterling.
I wrote them with the heart of a mother who knows that none of us is perfect. I spoke them with an unwavering belief that none of our lives should be defined by our worst mistakes.
That applies to Darren, not only my loving son, but an affectionate father, funny brother, talented athlete, good friend and a 25-year-old who had a drive to be so much more than the headlines that instead emphasized his own poor choices that cost him his life in Park Forest, IL on July 22, 2012. That belief also applies to the young man who was found guilty of Darren’s murder. Read more
In today’s Digital Age, the term “social networking” is likely to conjure up self-promotional images of impressive profile pages, YouTube channels and selfies, but for two young adults of Cambridge, Mass., it also means turning the figurative lens outward, partnering with under-resourced communities and offering a warm, friendly place for people to meet and facilitate change.
While Eric and Anna Leslie are far too open-minded, grounded and humble to admit that they’ve mastered the art of engaging communities, they created an innovative nonprofit organization almost four years ago that is much more than a start. Read more
(December 21, 2017) BOSTON — Lola Alexander is frequently called mom on the streets of Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood and a community that has served as her home for more than 50 years. And of all of the responsibilities and positions that she holds in her community, it’s that title of mother that she treasures most. Read more
BOSTON — Two former public affairs colleagues have announced the upcoming launch of The Good News Experiment, an initiative to recognize neighborhood innovators with feature stories that will be publicly distributed through blog, social media and traditional media formats. The first honoree will be announced on Thursday, December 21, 2017. Read more