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: Featured Stories

Teen Defies Odds and Inspires Hundreds on Trek

14 year old Nick Ross, from Kaysville, Utah defied the odds by walking over 30 miles across the Wyoming plains honoring the pioneers…16 miles in just one day!
Doctors feared Nick would struggle walking to classes in school
His family thought he would be pulled in a cart but he had different plans.
He has Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia or HSP. It’s a progressive neuro muscular disease. It limits mobility, speech and causes hearing loss. Despite blisters and pain, he pushed through even conquering rocky ridge! He refused to give up. His mom was amazing since Nick struggled on a short hike earlier this year.
Was it a miracle? A boys determination or did angels and ancestors help help him across the plains. You be the judge.

Suicidal Drug Addict Taking Hits Starts Giving Them & Changing Lives

Rob Eastman was a hardcore drug addict using every drug you could think of for years. He was depressed and found himself in the mountains with a gun. He was going to kill himself when his daughter popped into his head and instead of taking his life he decided to live. He drove straight to the hospital to detox and then went to rehab.

After being sober for a few months Rob decided he could help others and came up with the idea for www.eastmanfitnessutah.com. Rob got certified as a trainer and life coach and now he is successfully using those skills to help others in need. He’s got a soft spot for struggling youth. Kaden Schick is a recovering addict who’s life has been saved thanks to Rob. He was flunking out of school and depressed. Kaden said 7 months ago he would have never thought he’d graduate high school.

Kaden is just one of the many people to find success and recovery through Eastman Fitness. Rob says his clients inspire him and they say he inspires them…either way lives are changing for the better.

Never give up. Because anything is possible. If you’d like to learn more visit www.eastmanfitnessutah.com

www.eastmanfitness.com, or through their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/EastmanFamilyRecoveryFoudation

 


 

Superheroes Battle “Big White” To Help Sick Kids

It was an early summer morning at Lagoon, superheroes from across a spectrum of universes were gathering for one battle, one cause. They were there to take on Lagoon’s “White” Roller Coaster. To help sick children and their families, these heroes embarked on a two-hour marathon in an effort to raise money for medical expenses.

Kids Heroes Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their goal is to bring happiness and financial relief to children in need. Their aim is to help the healing process for children facing long term illness or other traumatic events, help relieve the burden of daunting medical expenses, and they also educate to thwart bullying and prevent child abuse.

This July Kids Heroes Foundation participated in a roller coaster marathon to raise money for families with sick children that need help with medical expenses. Lagoon Amusement Park thought this was a worthy cause and that a roller coaster 5K was great idea; so they opened their doors early to approximately 24 superheroes including Ironman, Thor, Captain America, Batman, Black Widow, Rey and more. They set a goal of $5,000. At the beginning of their 2-hour roller coaster marathon they were about a third of the way to their goal.

After their ride the superheroes stayed around and greeted regular Lagoon guests as they entered the park. Last checked the foundation was just over half way to meeting their $5,000 goal. If you would like to help get them all the way there, there are still taking donations through Crowdrise [1]. If you would like a superhero to attend an event, you can contact them through their website, www.kidsheroes.org, or through their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kidsheroesfoundation.

[1] https://www.crowdrise.com/kids-heroes-foundation—helping-families-with-children-pay-medical-bills/fundraiser/dustinkasai


Who’s Excited To Make Burritos?

The Legacy Initiative, a community partner organization based in American Fork, UT, get volunteers together the first Saturday of every month to, “…fight hunger, provide humanitarian aid, and educate people through community partnerships not just for today, but for our future.” Since May their monthly event has been a Feed the Streets Outreach. They have groups of volunteers come together to make over 900 bean and cheese burritos each month. Then they distribute on the streets of Salt Lake City.

The Legacy Initiative is simply looking to provide opportunities for people to help one another in the community. They want people to know that they can make a difference, even with the little spare time they have. It’s important that the Legacy Initiative be a part of the community because they want to serve their brothers and sisters. As Tedd Ellis, president of the Initiative, puts it, “…in the end we are all the same. There is no difference between us and them. It’s all about we.”

If you would like to volunteer with the Legacy Initiative their next event is being held on August 6th, 2016. They will be making burritos starting at 8:30am and hitting the streets to distribute around 1:00pm. For more information, check out the events listed on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LegacyInitiative/ or visit their website https://legacyinitiative.org


Retired Marine Creates A Safe Haven For Kids

Susan Sutherland isn’t your typical daycare provider. She retired from the U.S. Marine Corp as a nurse practitioner after almost 30 years of service. That is when she found here new calling. She started Twenty-Four/Seven Daycare in West Valley, Utah. She wanted to create a clean, safe, haven for kids.

For Susan, a three-time cancer survivor, it isn’t about the money, it’s about making a difference. She understands that she doesn’t have to charge a lot to give these families and children the support they need. That is why she keeps her prices low and affordable. She even offers services for free when the need is great.

The children love Susan, and they are like family to her, so if they don’t show up for a couple of days she checks in with the parents to see what is going on. Often times she hears stories of state checks not coming through, or not having enough money to pay for gas. That is when Susan, following her mother’s good example, will dig into her own pocket and help these families out. As Susan puts it, “To me, giving somebody $20-$30 for gas is saving their job to put food [on the table] and a roof over their children’s head.”

Twenty-Four/Seven Daycare has been open for 14 years now, but has never had a website. Good Deed Revolution wants to help Susan out with that. After all the wonderful things she has done for her community, Good Deed Revolution is giving Susan and Twenty-Four/Seven Daycare a website for free as a way to pay it back.


Helping the Littlest Victims of Homelessness

At any given time, Utah has almost 15,000 homeless with 40% of the homeless population being families. CARE-cuts is a project started just a year ago by a group of friends who wanted to make a difference in their community. They wanted to show the homeless community, and especially the homeless children, they were not alone. That they are special and they are loved.

CARE-cuts brings together barbers, beauticians and stylists multiple times a year to give haircuts to the homeless in the Salt Lake City area. Not only does CARE-cuts give haircuts, but they style hair, do make-up, paint nails and giveaway clothes at these events. It’s more than just a free haircut though. It’s a day out to play for the kids. They offer face painting, a petting zoo, an arts and crafts area. Kids can even build their own stuffed animals. It’s a time when these kids can forget their troubles for a little while and just be kids.

“In those rough times it’s great to be able to just do something that lets them just be a kid and this project allows us to do that. They get to build their own stuffed animal, and it’s not just something they got build, but it’s something they get to keep and have with them. So it’s been a great project.”– Mike Hamilton, Build a Buddy

Over 200 volunteers came out the last CARE-cuts event, and Sarah Franklin, CARE-Cuts Organizer, will tell you it’s really these people that make their events so successful. All the people cutting hair are licensed technicians donating their time and services. Plus, they have volunteers to help with the children, the animals and also set-up and tear-down.

The next CARE-cuts event will be on August 14th, 2016 from 1-7pm at 300 South and 500 West in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you would like to volunteer with this project, contact an administrator from the CARE-cuts Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/carecuts/.


Arizona Teen Helps A Blind Homeless Man Living Under a Tree

Calvin is a 14-year-old middle schooler who felt he had to act when he saw someone in need. Every day for over a week when Calvin would travel to school he would see the same homeless man on the side of the road, camped out under a tree. One particularly hot day Calvin came home from school and told his mom they had something they had to do; they had to help this man to make sure he was going to be okay in the scorching Arizona summer heat.

This 8th grader and his mother put together a hygiene kit with soap and dental supplies, a notebook with writing supplies, along with other odds and ends and packed it in a backpack for him. They also got this homeless man a heavy durable pillow and blanket. Then they delivered it all to him.

They learned the homeless man’s name was Mike, he was mostly blind and had been homeless for 7 years. Mike was thrilled with the gifts Calvin gave him. Calvin and his family have kind of adopted Mike. The bring him food and water and check in on him from time to time, letting him know that he is not alone. Calvin and his mom, with a few other good Samaritans, bought Mike a wagon so he can easily move/store his belongings and Calvin’s grandparents gave Mike a bike.

Calvin showed Mike there are good people in the world willing to help, and Calvin showed us that it is always good to be observant, and a little bit of kindness can go a long way.


Special Group Empowers Refugee Children To Share Their Stories

My Story Matters is an organization, founded by Amy Chandler, designed to help everyone realize they have a story and that their story is important. My Story Matters seeks out groups who need help getting their stories told and seek to help give them a voice. Most recently My Story Matters has been working with refugees; children who have just arrived to the U.S. so everything is very new to them. To capture that unique perspective Amy’s group interviews and photographs them all in their first two weeks in country. Amy’s group then take these interviews and photos and turns them in to printed and bound books.

These refugees have all fled their homes for different reasons, but the one common thread is that they are fleeing for their lives; many come from high violence areas, others are fleeing persecution or sex trafficking. When you ask these kids about their books and what their favorite pages are, they always seem to be pictures of them with their families.

At the core Amy and her team truly believe that every story does matter and when they take the time to get to know other people and their story, that’s when relationships build, that is when life is enriched and that is when things start to get better.

If you would like to help or know more about My Story Matters, check out their website: www.mystorymatters.org


Wheeler Ride Gets Utah Food Bank 42,000 Meals In Just 5 Hours

June 11th, 2016 was the 13th Annual Wheeler Ride, a charity motorcycle ride hosted by Wheeler Machinery Co., with all rider donations going to the Utah Food Bank and being matched 100% by Wheeler Machinery Co. The ride started on 2100 South in Salt Lake at Wheeler Machinery Co. Headquarters and, this year, ended at Cattleman’s Hall in Oakley, UT where there was a BBQ lunch and prizes.

Some of the riders in this year’s event remember dong the first ride when there was only about 45 bikes. As of late though the event is pushing closer to 200 bikes. As one rider put it,

Despite what everybody thinks we’re not as big and mean and ugly as they all say. Most of us are ugly but we all like to support a good cause and what a better charity [Utah Food Bank] to support.

This year’s ride was a raging success. There were 263 riders at this year’s event. That is 100 more riders than they had last year. With rider donations and Wheeler Machinery’s donation match, this year’s Wheeler Ride brought in $11,100 for the Utah Food Bank. That equates to approximately 42,000 meals.

If you would like to help the Utah Food Bank go to their website, https://www.utahfoodbank.org, and find out how you can donate food, time, and money.

If you would like to participate in next year’s Wheeler Ride, they tend to start posting details March of every year at http://wheelercat.com


Reforestation: Balancing The Environment For Future Generations

Mike Siaperas got interested in conservation by accident. In 2007 he bought a ranch so he could enjoy the outdoors, nature, and the wildlife. Unfortunately though, the ranch he purchased was full of trees. There were no meadows for wildlife; of 600 acres only about a half-acre was grass. Practically anywhere you went on the ranch you had to battle thick dead fall pine trees. Mike wanted to change that so he bought himself a bulldozer and started pushing trees over.

It started out as just a clearing project, not really realizing that trees would grow back, but by clearing out these areas Mike was able to give the forest a chance to renew and regrow. He created large rolling meadows that the wildlife quick came to occupy. He soon became a master of the reforestation process. He’s crafted islands for cover and bedding down areas for the wildlife. He seeds the treated areas with clover and alfalfa for healthier environment for both the wildlife and the aspen trees.

People from all over the state (of Utah) visit Mike’s ranch to learn about his processes and he hopes to leave a legacy of strong and healthy forest and wildlife management behind for the future.

Mike has found that sportsmen are often his cause’s biggest advocates. They visit these treated areas and see what a huge difference the treatments make and the great opportunities that these reforestation processes can afford them.

If you would like to learn more about reforestation or get involved with Mike’s work with 106 Reforestation visit his website at 106reforest.com


A Special Needs Group Blows Away The Audience

Every year this LDS based SNAP (Special Needs Activity Program) puts on a show for the community. With a little makeup, music and months of hard work preparing, these special needs individuals put on a magical performance that the community loves.

These performers range from ages 14-75, with all kinds of disabilities covering the full spectrum from high to lower functioning. Some of them have been attending the program for over 30 years. It has been a place for them to make life-long friends.

When they put on a that little bit of makeup it transforms them into rock stars. They hang posters and flyers all throughout their communities because they want everyone to come see their performance. They are an amazing group of individuals that have overcome barriers to put on an extraordinary performance the everyone loves.


Woman Discovers Hope While Running From Tragedy

In 2002 Randi’s world was completely turned upside down. She was battling a brain tumor that left her with limited mobility, and then her husband passed away unexpectedly. Reid was Randi’s world. He was her everything, her protection, her future, and just like that he was gone. She felt defeated. Randi started running to cope with the loss and the pain in her life. She started with just a half a block. Slowly she pushed herself to go “just one more driveway”, and eventually she found herself running five miles a go. After miles and miles of running she realized she needed more.

Randi visited a local to gym and started talking to the trainers there, asking them who they’d want to be trained by and they all pointed her to Travis Brady. Travis is a performance coach, certified personal trainer, nutrition coach and life strategies coach. He taught Randi how get out in the world and live again. He brought her out of her shell with physical training, emotional support and life coaching.

Travis believes the strongest, most driving force out there is love, and it all starts with self-love. He stresses that a person can’t be the best, most confident, version of themselves if they don’t love themselves first and foremost.

Once Randi had found herself again, she found love again too, and she has vowed to help others going through difficult times like she went through.