The week's good news: July 1, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
70-year-old has the 'thrill of a lifetime' as Yankees' bat girl for a night
Gwen Goldman came out swinging on Monday night, ready to spend the next nine innings as the New York Yankees' bat girl. In 1961, Goldman sent a letter to the Yankees' then-general manager, Roy Hamey, inquiring about becoming a bat girl. He replied that baseball is "dominated by men [and] a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout." Sixty years later, Goldman's daughter wrote an email to the Yankees, making the pitch for her mom to finally become a bat girl. Brian Cashman, the current general manager, responded to Goldman, saying it wasn't "too late to reward and recognize the ambition you showed in writing that letter to us as a 10-year-old girl." Goldman, now 70, was the bat girl for the Yankees versus Angels game, and said the whole night felt like a dream. "It was a thrill of a lifetime," she told The Associated Press, "times a million."
Community puts on surprise parade to celebrate Olympic hopeful
To celebrate Tess Howley making the Olympic swimming trials, her friends, teammates, coaches, and neighbors put on a parade to rival any opening ceremony. Howley, 16, of Rockaway, New York, was one of the youngest competitors at the trials, and swam the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, and 200m freestyle. While Howley didn't qualify for the Tokyo Games, she did beat some of her personal best times, and that made her "pretty happy," she told The Rockaway Times. Her former coaches decided to throw a surprise parade in her honor last week, and dozens of supporters put on red, white, and blue and marched by her house. Gen Shaw, whose daughter is one of Howley's teammates, told The Rockaway Times that Howley "got out there and gave it her all, so we wanted to let her know we're all proud of her." The swimmer was shocked by the parade, and said, "I feel so special."
Michigan boat captain finds 1926 message in a bottle
As a boat captain, Jennifer Dowker has found a lot of things in the water — but nothing as special as a message in a bottle thrown into the Cheboygan River in 1926. Dowker found it last month while cleaning the windows of her glass-bottomed boat. Dated November 1926, the message read, "Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow Cheboygan, Michigan and tell where it was found?" Dowker posted pictures of the message and bottle on Facebook, and on Father's Day, she heard from George Morrow's daughter, Michele Primeau. Primeau said her father was a teenager when he wrote the note, and she immediately recognized his handwriting. Morrow died in 1995, and Primeau told Dowker she wanted her to keep the bottle. "I thought the right thing to do would be to give it to her," Primeau told CNN. "She found it and that would keep my dad's name living on."
Over 2 days, L.A. teen becomes U.S. citizen and graduates at the top of her class
June was a big month for Los Angeles teen Pilar Diaz Bombino — she became a U.S. citizen on the 8th, and the next day delivered a commencement address. Bombino, 18, immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 2006 with her mom and brother. Bombino told the Los Angeles Times that while she got good grades, she wasn't thinking about college — until her mom got her motivated. "She told me it's very important to stay focused and do it," she said. "So I don't have to struggle in life the way she did." Bombino studied hard while working two jobs, and got into her dream school, UCLA. Things only went up from there — the day before graduation, Bombino aced her U.S. citizenship test. During her commencement speech at Jordan High School, Bombino told her classmates while their "senior year was stripped from us ... our power to change the world will forever be in our hands."
Teenager organizes blood drive to help sister diagnosed with leukemia
Over the last month, Eden Jackson has realized the importance of blood donation, and she's doing her part to spread the word. In May, Jackson's 6-year-old sister, Violet, was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As part of her treatment at Omaha's Children's Hospital, Violet has received blood transfusions, and mom Wendy Jackson told CBS News she was so "thankful" that blood was available for Violet that she "wanted to pay that gift forward, so I scheduled my blood donation." Eden, 16, wanted to get even more people involved, so last week, she organized a community blood drive with the American Red Cross, with every slot quickly filled. Across the U.S., blood supplies are critically low, with donations down because of the pandemic, making Eden's event even more important. Eden said she was thrilled "that we brought awareness to the need for blood and that it can help people."