INSPIRING EXAMPLE #1:
With the New Year now here, a Dec. 22 Washington Post lead editorial, “A Victory for Democracy,” praised Chile’s recent presidential election as a model for others to consider in 2022.
The winner was 35-year-old Gabriel Boric, a member of Chile’s Congress and former organizer of student protests. But what impressed the Post was the manner in which his country conducted the polling, freely and transparently.
Chile’s rightwing populist, Jose Antonia Kast, immediately conceded defeat and tweeted that Mr. Boric “is the elected President of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration.” A welcome and rare smooth transition worth emulating globally?
INSPIRING EXAMPLE #2:
In Bradford, Rhode Island, handicapped five-year-old Ryder Killam earlier this season had to battle rain, wind, and snow for about 15 minutes every day while waiting for the school bus to arrive. He used only a patio umbrella his family supplied as protection against the elements.
Ryder was born with spina bifida myelpmeningocele, a rare disease. He has never been able to walk.
But local students were determined to ease his drenching waits for the school bus to arrive. They got to work, reaching out to their community for emergency help. His father, Kim, did his best. He installed a huge patio umbrella at the end of his 75-long driveway in front of their home to provide some shelter from the rains.
He shook his head in disappointment and said: “The problem is: with the wind and Fall weather here in New England, it really didn’t accomplish much unless it was just a rainy day with no wind. Otherwise, Ryder would still get wet and not stay warm.”
Kim, the father, refused to give up. He sent a message to Dan McKena, who had been teaching construction technology at the nearby Westerly High School for 27 years. “Would Mr. McKena’s class be interested in solving this problem?”
Teacher McKena wasted no time in responding, and activating his class. He worked with his students, urging them to design and build a 5’ by 8’ foot wooden shelter with a sturdy sloping shingled roof so that it could accommodate kindergartener Ryder and a parent — enabling both to wait together for the school bus. About $300 worth of wood was donated by Home Depot, but the rest of the materials (another $600) were purchased by the Killams.
“Five-year-old Ryder’s initial reaction when the newly-built shelter was delivered: “Holy Cow!” He loved it, and hangs out in it daily: rain, blizzards or sunshine. The shelter has above its open front entrance a sign with a painted likeness of a school bus — with “Ryder’s bus stop” emblazoned above the entrance door.
The Killam family sent a photo of their son Ryder in the shelter and thanked the teens of Westerly High for their hard work. It was delivered to their front yard on November 2, 2021.
A tiny but welcome initiative of the year past, and precursor of other constructive examples — small or large, locally or globally — in 2022?
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More