This 9-yr-old who got a law banning snowball fights dropped is a real American hero.

Dane Best convinced lawmakers to change a century-old law banning snowball fights—and he's only 9 years old.

Dressed in a sharp pink dress shirt and black bowtie, Dane Best approached the microphone at the Severance, Colorado city council meeting. His goal: To convince the city to overturn a century-old ban on snowball fights.

The small town of Severance averages 43 inches of snow per year, but for the past 100 years, throwing snowballs within city limits has been illegal. Packed balls of snow fell under the town's definition of "missiles," and a town ordinance prohibited the throwing of stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees, or other property.  


Best found out about the law a month and a half ago and decided it was time for that law to change.

Best was encouraged by town officials to present his case to the city council.

Kyle Reitkirk, assistant to the Severance town administrator, and other town officials told Best that he should do the research and present it to the town council. So the 9-year-old put together a presentation.

Best and his classmates wrote letters encouraging officials to overturn the law. Then Best made his case in front of the council using logic and common sense.

"The children of Severance want the opportunity to have a snowball fight like the rest of the world," he told the lawmakers. "The law was created many years ago. Today's kids need a reason to play outside."

He articulated a list of reasons why the law is outdated, and even presented his arguments on a slide projector.

Rietkirk said before the meeting, “All of the kids always get blown away that it’s illegal to have snowball fights in Severance. So, what ends up happening is (town leaders) always encourage the kids with, ‘You have the power you can change the law.’ No one has.” Until now.

The town council meeting was filled with families eager to see Best's presentation. After hearing Best's arguments, the council unanimously voted to overturn the law. The kids of Severance can now throw snowballs at one another without breaking the law.

This is what civic engagement looks like. We should all take notes.

The best part of this story is seeing a kid not just learn about, but actually engage in, the process of getting laws changed—something that many adults don't take the time or energy to do. So many of us like to complain about outdated or unjust laws, but don't take the steps democracy offers to get them changed, whether it's at the local, state, or national level.

It's not always as simple as overturning a snowball ban, of course. But it's also not as complicated as we might believe. It's our right and duty as citizens to take our lawmakers to task when we want to see change, and there are many avenues for us to do that.  

Thanks, Dane Best, for the awesome reminder of our civic duty. And good luck in your first legal snowball fight, kiddo!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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