The week's good news: October 7, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
9-year-old helps get diverse voices into Utah's school libraries
Knowledge is power, and Emi Kim wants to use books as educational tools to help stop racism. In July, the 9-year-old from Provo, Utah, opened a lemonade stand so she could earn enough money to buy books about diversity featuring people of color for her school's library. "It matters that everyone is represented," Emi told Good Morning America. "We're afraid of what we don't know and I think that's partly the reason why we treat people badly based on how they look." Emi's goal was to purchase 15 books for her school, but she raised $762 and was able to donate books to five additional schools in Provo. She selected children's books with Black, Polynesian, Native American, Latino, and Asian main characters, which were "actually written or illustrated by someone of that race," Emi's mom, Dorie Kim, told GMA. In September, Emi set up another lemonade stand, and raised $3,029, which will go toward buying books about children with disabilities.
New York couple weds at border crossing so Canadian family can be part of the big day
Having first met 35 years ago on a ski slope, Karen Mahoney and Brian Ray figured they'd waited long enough to get married, and agreed to a very short engagement. Only one thing stood in their way: the closed U.S.-Canada border. The couple lives in New York, but Mahoney's parents and 96-year-old grandmother live in Quebec. Mahoney and Ray set Sept. 25 as their wedding date, holding out hope that the U.S.-Canada border would reopen by that time, allowing Mahoney's family to travel to New York. When they realized this wasn't going to happen, their friend, a Border Patrol agent, stepped in with a suggestion. He told the couple if they got married at the closed Jamieson Line Border Crossing between Burke, New York, and Athelstan, Quebec, Mahoney's family could watch from Canada. Mahoney's grandmother was "extremely excited" to see her, she told CBS News, and the celebration continued as the couple held their planned wedding the next day.
Neighbors turn the tables and fix handyman's roof
For decades, James "Mac" McWhorter has been sprucing up the homes of his neighbors — and when it came time for his house to receive some TLC, they were ready to return the favor. There's no job too big or too small, and "anything you needed, he could do," neighbor Carmen Merritt told USA Today. McWhorter was so busy helping others take care of their houses that his own home was falling into disrepair, and when Merritt noticed he needed a new roof, she started talking to other neighbors about ways to assist McWhorter. "Almost immediately there were people offering to donate," Merritt said. McWhorter was surprised by their generosity, and neighbor Millie Woods had to twice stop him from getting on a ladder to help, telling him, "This is something that you deserve because you've done this for other people for so many years and you need it and now it's your turn."
WHO approves world's first malaria vaccine
The World Health Organization supports the first-ever vaccine to prevent malaria, a decision that could save the lives of tens of thousands of children in Africa annually. "I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. "Today is that day. An historic day." The vaccine, known as Mosquirix, would have to be used alongside other preventative measures like bed nets and pesticides. The WHO's endorsement is a "crucial step" in ramping up investment for greater production and rollout, The Wall Street Journal says. The shot will be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa and other at-risk regions. Dr. Mary Hamel, who heads the WHO's malaria vaccine implementation program, believes distribution will be relatively simple. "The ability to reduce inequities in access to malaria prevention — that's important," she said. "It was impressive to see that this could reach children who are currently not being protected."
Elise Chang has come up with a sweet way to bring cheer to her friends and neighbors. Chang told Good Morning America she loves giving gifts, and at the start of the pandemic, the Maryland teenager would bake cookies and drop them off at her friends' houses along with a present, usually a stuffed animal. They would rave about the cookies and send photos showing them with their gifts, and "that's why I wanted to continue doing it, because of those small but really meaningful reactions," Chang said. Wanting to spread even more joy, she launched the Tough Cookie Service Project. Once a month, Chang makes special deliveries to 20 of her neighbors, leaving a bag containing her latest cookie creation as well as a note encouraging the recipient to do something kind for someone else. Chang said the last year has helped her see how even the smallest gesture can mean so much.