Madoff, bailouts, layoffs, and subprime mortgages. I don't think you need me to tell you that the news as of late has been nothing but doom and gloom, and if you're anything like me, well, then, it's all getting a bit heavy. And let's be honest: though things aren't great, they most definitely are not all that bad. (Really!)
Though money is tight and everyone is holding on to their paychecks like they'll never see another one (a statement which, sadly, rings all too true for many), people have also never been so giving, so compassionate, and so focused on rolling up their sleeves, digging in and digging deep to help both themselves and those around them.
Don't believe me? How about the Gainesville couple who sold everything they owned on eBay in order to pay for their children's medical bills? They found a buyer -- for $20,000, no less -- but with one small catch...
The winning bidders assured Brittiny and Gregg that they will honor the terms and send the money. But...
"They informed us this morning that they do not intend on taking possession of the things. They're basically purchasing them and giving them back."
The purchasers, Keith and Donnia Blair of Fort Worth, told the Associated Press, simply, "We've been blessed," and "we saw an opportunity to help."
Or, how about the anonymous donation sent to a recently laid-off father who couldn't afford his daughter's gymnastics lessons? According to KWCH, CBS' locale Wichita affiliate:
A little girl will still get to go to gymnastics, despite her dad's recent lay off. It's all thanks to an anonymous donor.
After our story aired someone called the gym and offered to pay for the next nine weeks, about $90. The donor says things are going well for her family right now and she wants to share what she has.
There's no shortage of communities around the country who have rallied around a hard-up neighbor, such as the Hearne family in Camarillo or Allen Stice, whose house burned down in Lake Wildwood, California.
But here's the thing, I'm certain that those aren't the only stories out there. I'm certain that each and every one of you has seen this sort of unity and compassion on an individual level in your very own communities. Maybe you've been the Good Samaritan to your neighbor's bad luck, or, maybe you've even been the recipient of someone else's blessing.
So e-mail us! Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us exactly what goodwill you've witnessed and what charity you've taken part in.
Then sign-up here to be notified when your pieces are published and to find out about any future citizen journalism initiatives.
We want your stories.
We want to put a spotlight on all the good hard work that's going on in your communities around this country, and we want to share it with the rest of our readers.
These stories are a much needed counterpoint to all the doom and gloom; let's help change the conversation -- we can't do it without you.