Dennis Bonifas / ABC 13

Just five months after attempting suicide, Dennis Bonifas has found a new purpose in life in the form of volunteer work.

The Ohio resident, who suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, has been spending his spare time cleaning up hateful and racist vandalism in his area.

"I've grown a lot since then and now it's time for me to help give back, and this is just one of the ways that I can do it," he told ABC 13.

Bonifas owns B & D Powerwash and Painting Services in Swanton and said he got the idea to donate his time and resources after seeing a post on Facebook about several swastikas that had been spray painted on a nearby street, the news station reports.

Deciding to do something about it, he took his equipment to the vandalized area and cleaned it up for free.

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Sometimes we can get caught up in a seemingly feel-good story and miss that it might have a dark side. An article I wrote recently praising a middle school teacher's "baggage activity" is a perfect, personal example of this. I saw that the post had been shared widely, looked at the activity through my own lens as a former teacher and current parent of teens, and missed the red flags that those trained in trauma saw in it.

The viral post, shared by a veteran teacher, explained how she had her students write down the emotional baggage they were carrying around, wad up the papers, and toss them across the room. Each student then picked up a random paper and read it to the class. Students could share if they wrote it or remain anonymous. The teacher described how the students were moved by the activity, and how she felt it helped them develop empathy for one another. The bag of wadded papers hangs by the door to remind students "they are not alone, they are loved, and we have each other's back."

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Update from the author: I wrote a follow-up to this article sharing a trauma-informed perspective of the activity. You can read it here.

Karen Loewe has been teaching for 22 years. Clearly, all of that experience has given her a solid bead on what her students really need.

The middle school English teacher from Oklahoma shared an activity she did with her students for the first day of school on Facebook and it's gone insanely viral. In just three days, her post has already been shared more than 335,000 times.

What has caught people's attention is something we all have in common—emotional baggage. We live in an era of rising mental health awareness, but also increased social pressures to appear as if you have all of your sh*t together. For kids in the turbulent middle school years, whose their bodies, minds, and spirits are growing at breakneck pace, having a place to share their emotional turmoil can be incredibly helpful. But many kids don't have a safe, supportive place to do that.

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via Lubbock County Jail

Given the sheer number of mass shootings that have happened since the assault weapons ban ended in 2004, Americans are starting to notice when someone exhibits behaviors that could lead to committing an act of horrific violence.

According to FBI statistics, mass shooters exhibit an average of 4.7 examples of "concerning behavior" before their attacks. These include: mental health issues, interpersonal problems, suicidal ideation, discussing an attack, poor work performance, threats or confrontations.

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