Refugees arrive without backpacks, so these women found a way to make them — from boats.

The island of Lesbos is a popular landing place for refugees fleeing countries in the Middle East, looking for safety. After arriving, most continue a long trek to other European countries.

Nobody can take away the difficulty and pain — both emotional and physical — that refugees endure, but there sure are a lot of people who are working hard to help.

Take Floor Nagler, a 24-year-old Amsterdam resident who is studying textiles. Radio Free Europe shared an incredible story (and photos) about an idea that struck her when she was in Lesbos in January, helping newly arrived refugees.


And not only did Nagler have an idea, but she saw it through.

Floor Nagler, left. All photos belong to Radio Free Europe and are shared here with permission. You can also check out more incredible photo stories on their Instagram page. Photo by Amos Chapple (RFE/RL).

She could see that the refugees needed backpacks because many of them had lost their bags during their travels.

She also observed that once they arrived in Lesbos on rubber boats, they abandoned the boats they traveled on because they no longer needed them.

They also abandoned their lifejackets.

So Nagler gathered up over 40 pounds of boat materials and returned to Amsterdam,

Then she asked her friend, 27-year-old artist Didi Aaslund, to help her brainstorm a way to turn all that material into useable backpacks.

The pair worked together and designed a simple, effective backpack made from "one folded piece of boat material, held together with rivets and clipped shut with buckles from life vests," Radio Free Europe explained.

The backpacks cost just $3 each and there's no need for electricity to make them.

Calling their project "It Works," Nagler and Aaslund "carried their punch pliers and riveting guns in homemade work belts made of rolled-up boat-rubber pouches strung onto black life-vest belts. They stashed scissors into black PVC lifeline holders, also salvaged from dinghies."

They returned to Lesbos and hosted a bag-making workshop that lasted one week, beginning on Feb. 29.

You can see the process in the following photos:

Pretty cool, right? If you want to watch them in action, Radio Free Europe has a great video about Nagler and Aaslun's work.

What they're doing really brings Mister Rogers' words of wisdom to life: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

There are a lot of really kind helpers in this world.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Photo by Diana Leygerman, used with permission.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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