One day in 2016, the kids of the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club in Connecticut met to discuss some hard truths.

"We had a guest speaker come in," says Boys & Girls Club supervisor Jeff Goncalves, who organized the talk for a leadership program within the group called Torch Club.

"It was to benefit the Friends of Karen organization, which helps families of children who unfortunately are suffering from a terminal illness."

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When Athena White lost her only child, the grief nearly consumed her.

The void left after her son’s passing was, at first, one filled with anger. "He was 25," she explains. "My son was my life. I was a lost soul."

Athena might have felt lost, but she also soon found kindness where she least expected it: at work. Her coworkers at Old Navy, recognizing her pain, quickly stepped in to support her.

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Dashawn Hightower was only 3 years old when doctors discovered he had a tumor wrapped around his kidney.

He went through two years of intensive treatments that included having a needle stuck under his chest to make sure his kidney was still working.

Eventually, he made it out the other side cancer free but sans one kidney.

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"What I'm about to tell you will change everything in an instant."

The last person you might expect to give a booming spoken-word performance is a seemingly soft-spoken teacher.

But Craig Duchemin, a special education teacher at Charles Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C., found that it was one of the best ways to reach his students — namely, those with autism.

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