Even in this uncertain time, we can still find reasons for hope. We’ve gathered stories of people from every corner of the globe carrying out selfless acts in this time of need. Think of it as the virtual hug you (maybe) didn't know you needed. Our team will continue to add to this steady stream of global hope, but we'd like your help. Tell us about the stories—big and small—that are lifting your spirits here.
When Jaton had to shift his after-school programming to be fully virtual, he reached out to Alfonso for help. Together, the leaders created AHA! Eskwelang Pamilya—a free and accessible online program featuring daily lessons and COVID-19 resources and information for students and their families. By joining forces with Alfonso, Jaton has doubled the number of children he now serves.
In neighborhoods across Chicago, from Pilsen to Jackson Park to Austin, see how our neighbors are stepping up to care for their communities and giving them strength to weather the public health crisis.
Watch President and Mrs. Obama read The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds for Chicago Public Library's "Live from the Library" series.
Chicagoan Ibraheem Alinur is the founder of City Health Tech, a startup focused on improving community health and preventing the spread of disease in communities. In response to COVID-19, Ibraheem has piloted his handwashing device at essential workplaces. The automated device triggers a series of animations that encourages better and longer handwashing times.
President and Mrs. Obama dropped by a Chicago Public Schools Student Civics Town Hall where they discussed how the Chicago Public Schools community can stay connected, engaged in civic life, and build a sense of belonging even while living apart.
Chicago Principal Surprises Teachers at Their Homes
CHICAGO (WLS) — Perspectives High School Technology Leadership Academy Principal Eron Powell surprised his teachers one by one to show his appreciation for them. Check it out +
Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya founded Kakenya’s Dream to empower her rural Kenyan community by educating girls and ending harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Her organization was recently awarded a $725,000 grant through Jack Dorsey’s Start Small initiative to fund their COVID-19 relief efforts and to build a youth-friendly health clinic in Enoosaen. Learn more about Kakenya’s Dream +
The Obamas recently announced that they will deliver virtual commencement addresses to the graduating class of 2020, and we want you to be a part of the celebration, too! Dial (773) 657-9284 to leave a voicemail message of hope and encouragement for this year's graduating class.
On National Teachers’ Day, President Obama called a few Chicago Public Schools teachers to thank them for their dedication and hard work keeping their students on track in a remote classroom environment.
We’ll never forget the ways we’ve seen leaders step up in their communities across the world.
For Edem Dorothy Ossai, that leadership looks like this: safely distributing packages filled with food and sanitation items to help teenagers most at risk in southwest Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/FXqZNsPVFY
Combining her passion for running with a desire to help her community, Maya organized the Stronger Together Virtual 5K. With hundreds of participants, she was able to raise nearly $12,000 for the @UnitedWayTC's COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund. pic.twitter.com/8ggEz6UNrs
The Rongxiang Xu Bioscience Innovation Center opened at an accelerated rate to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles. The center is named in honor of donor Kevin Xu's late father, a surgeon and expert in regenerative medicine. When it opened on May 12, it became the latest free COVID-19 testing center in LA county. Read more +
“Know you’re doing the kind of work that makes communities stronger and makes the world a better place.” President Obama spoke with the Greater Chicago Food Depository's team to hear how they’ve stepped up during this crisis, and to thank them for it. If you're able, you can donate here +
Anne Miles wanted to feel connected to her Jackson Park neighbors while social-distancing. That's why she decided to rally everyone together to create a teddy bear scavenger hunt throughout their community.
Albie, a five-year-old Chicagoan who recently launched the Keep Away Corona podcast with some help from his dad. Albie talks to friends and family about the coronavirus and even sings the show’s theme song. Listen to Albie’s podcast now +
We’ve been asking you to share what’s bringing your family joy lately at https://t.co/q4CHYqXQBG. For Michelle in Greenville, New Hampshire it’s a video of her daughter’s elementary school teachers dancing to “We’re All in this Together.” 🎶 pic.twitter.com/ErxSOE3p4z
President Obama joined 30 Obama Scholars from the University of Chicago and Columbia University for a conversation about how they are uniquely positioned to drive change in the world as it recovers from COVID-19.
RN Natalie Amidei decided to spread some cheer by baking cookies for her fellow staff in the Rush Emergency Department. The best part? Each cookie was decorated with a facemask emoji.
On the first episode of the new series, "Mondays with Michelle Obama," the former First Lady read one of one of her favorite children’s books, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Community leaders from across Chicago got together virtually to share how they are supporting their neighbors during this challenging time. President Obama dropped in to say thank you.
Former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush applauded the courage of essential workers during the One World: Together At Home concert on April 18.
Obama Foundation Africa Leader Goto Cooper collaborated with seven emerging community organizations across Liberia to create the COVID-19 Partnership Network. The network is educating rural communities about the symptoms of the virus and how to prevent its spread in coordination with the Liberian government and the World Health Organization’s efforts to curtail the outbreak.
Asia-Pacific Leader Swietenia Puspa Lestari is the Executive Director of Divers Clean Action, a youth-led organization based in Indonesia that focuses on marine debris cleanup. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Divers Clean Action started researching the rise in waste and developing strategies to help combat it.
One of our Obama Scholars, Pavel Kounchev, co-founded Fine Acts—a playground for social change. In response to the pandemic, they launched Spring of Hope online, where they are sharing new uplifting illustrations on their website every day until the end of May. Download your own today +
My brilliant friend Alex keeps moving through this pandemic without disconnecting the elderly and at risk with the younger generation. He gives me hope that humanity can overcome difficult times like now. #obamafellowshttps://t.co/bNjVEVJS0w
Christian Vanizette is the co-founder of Makesense.org, an international organization based in France that focuses on how social entrepreneurs can use technology to solve social and environmental issues. When COVID-19 began to spread, he shifted the entire focus of his organization to virtual community organizing.
Asia-Pacific Leader Kealoha Fox is working with the ACLU on their Campaign for Smart Justice, which is helping state offices ensure everyone’s health, safety and civil liberties are prioritized and protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also participated in a webinar where she spoke at length about about racial justice and health equity to address the over-incarceration of Native Hawaiians and Women in Hawai‘i. Watch the webinar +
Around the world, Obama Foundation leaders are stepping up to meet this moment, helping their communities weather the COVID-19 crisis. In Malaysia, Obama Foundation, Leader Rashvin Pal Singh and his team are making face shields for frontline workers. In Paraguay, Obama Foundation Scholar, Gabriella Galilea is collaborating with others to create an open source app for self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms, and in Los Angeles, Obama Foundation Fellow, Harry Grammer and his organization, New Earth, are continuing to provide connectivity and basic necessities to community members who are in need.
Together We Rise is a non-profit that's changing the way youth experience foster care. In response to the pandemic, the California-based organization is providing supplies, activities, and support to kids in foster care. Explore ways you can pitch in from home, including decorating duffle bags and building birthday boxes. Learn more +
I didn’t know what to do so I decided to BAKE, BAKE and then BAKE some more. I bake every day now and then give it all away locally to Fire Station 92, the Post Office, my pharmacy and the many grocery store staffs where I shop plus the elderly on my block, not to mention my neighbor who is a physician working seven days a week.
John Leong is the CEO of Kupu, an organization that provides hands-on environmental and sustainability service learning to youth in Hawai'i. When organizational events were cancelled as a result of COVID-19, John and his team repurposed some of the food to create meals for those most impacted by the crisis.
Some great stories of big-hearted people coming up with new ways to come together—even while remaining apart—to help the vulnerable who face some very tough times ahead.https://t.co/kcBQK915jo
Watch John Krasinski highlight some good news from around the world, then keep scrolling for even more touching stories and acts of selflessness!
"At the Little Free Library organization, we are so proud of our neighbors, who have transformed their Little Free Libraries, sharing food, masks, supplies, and books to help their community during this crisis and entertaining their community with love and humor as well." —Anita M., Deal Island, MD
In Nigeria, Lagosfoodbank created an emergency hunger relief program. They took it upon themselves to distribute food boxes and groceries to vulnerable women, pregnant women, and malnourished children for sustenance during this shutdown.
Beatrice A., Nigeria
"My husband is an infectious disease doctor, working tirelessly around the clock. My 6-year-old had an assignment for school to write a letter thanking a healthcare worker. She wanted to thank her dad and wrote the most heartfelt letter."—Katie M., Narberth, PA
These random people held up signs for us outside our ED today and gave me hope again. Then, I cried for the first time during all of this. Thank you, random strangers, your kindness means more than you can know. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/bQZHgHs3NB
To flatten the curve, Obama Foundation Africa Leader Kennedy Odede and his organization, SHOFCO, installed over 30 hand washing stations throughout Kenya, in addition to distributing supplies and educational pamphlets.
Current Obama Scholar Christian Vanizette runs Makesense.org in France. Since the pandemic began, he has shifted the entire focus of his organization to virtual community organization and the development of a new platform to share best practices around the COVID-19 response, particularly for healthcare professionals. Explore his work +
"It’s a small thing, but we left a care package of water, breakfast bars, and apples for the team that picks up our rubbish." —Robin P., Maui County, HI
"It is so touching for me to have my sheltered-in-place family making Shabbat together each week online. We speak about how to move through difficult times by aligning with love and community. Even the little kids are thinking how they can help." —Deborah A., Soquel, CA
Yesterday, my partner and I waited on line at the grocery store to buy flowers, chocolates, and bourbon for my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren (the bourbon is for the parents!). We surprised them with the gifts, and talked for a while through a window on their porch. It wasn't what we are used to but it was good.
Bill P., Oakland, CA
"My 10 year old grandson performing a saxophone concert for his Great Grandparents through the looking glass. It brought so much joy to them as they haven’t been out or had visitors for weeks."—Debbie F., Oconomowoc, WI
"I am a 61-year old RN caring for my 96-year old mother while I telework full-time from home. This week alone, I've had two different neighbors I didn't know come by and ask if we needed any help or if they could pick up anything at the store for us. I could have cried at their kindness as no one had ever done that before in the 30 years I've lived here." —Dora A., Hermosa Beach, CA
Texan and elementary school teacher Brandy Hurtado is brightening her elementary students' day by driving by their houses to say hi and stay connected.
I Grow Chicago is doing what they do best at a time when it is most needed: Showing up for their neighbors, one meal, one call, one care package at a time. In just a few weeks, the organization has provided 150 hot meals to neighbors, picked up and delivered 50 children’s meals from Chicago Public Schools for their after school families that can’t drive, and delivered 250 educational flyers with information about the virus to households with limited Internet access. Learn more about their work +
"Like so many middle schoolers, 13-year-old Miah is spending hours every day online in school. On her breaks, she will draw, chat with friends and ride her bike. We have an elderly neighbor who walks daily around the block using his walker. To make his trip pleasant, she has been drawing chalk art on the sidewalk. Little bits of visual happiness for his daily walk." —Julien S., Salt Lake City, Utah
Distilleries are using their high proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer as Purell and other sanitizers become harder to find during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full USA Today article +
"I am so proud of my wife, Jeannette Pomeroy, for sewing masks for a local assisted living facility. She sent them enough so that each staff member has two."—Bill U., Fishers, IN
I am a Social Worker. I am so proud of my fellow colleagues who are providing mental health services to all their clients even without the expectation of being paid. We refer to ourselves as the silent first responders. We are here.
Mary L., Chicago, IL
"The Downtown Boxing Gym is working around the clock to get emergency food, supplies, and academic materials to 150 Detroit students (ages 8-18) and their families. Many of these families were struggling with food insecurity before the COVID-19 crisis. Now, DBG has switched gears from helping students to helping entire families." —Robin S., Detroit, Michigan
There will likely be opportunities down the road for you to go to the national parks and see the red rock, desert landscapes, and sweet cactuses for yourself. In the meantime, you can log onto your laptop and go on virtual tours of national parks. Read the full Elite Daily article +
It's not a big thing, but in our town in Germany, the church bells of the main great church are now ringing everyday at 12 o'clock since all church services and other activities are cancelled. It's a very nice gesture for everyone—like me—missing the various gatherings with friends. It reminds us that we're all still united, even if not physically.
Nitya P., Germany
Seen in my Chicago neighborhood.
Sign says "To help our neighbors affected by the COVID-19 crisis, this Little Free Library is converted to a Little Free Pantry. Take what you need and if you can, please donate what you can spare!" pic.twitter.com/HtrUHNv9BG
2018 Obama Fellow Alex Smith and his organization, The Cares Family, fight loneliness and polarization in the UK by connecting seniors and young professionals to build new and lasting relationships. Alex penned an op-ed chock-full of creative ways to combat loneliness and help your older neighbors during this trying time. Check it out +
"Shout out to the small but mighty team at Franciscan Charities, who serve more than 100,000 hot meals and distribute plenty of food, hygiene products, diapers and wipes, toys, clothes, books and more each year in this needy pocket of downtown Newark, NJ." —Sharon M., Newark, NJ
A shout out to Kevin, Giannis, Zion, Blake, Steph and all the players, owners and organizations who are setting a good example during a challenging time. A reminder that we’re a community, and that each of us has an obligation to look out for each other. https://t.co/cv1RZi9GGL
It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together! 🙏🏽
2018 Obama Fellow Erin Barnes is doing her part, too. At ioby, she and her team are implementing new ways to adjust to this new work reality, including a wide array of BBQ-related emojis and “bursty communications” on the messaging platform Slack. See all of her fun tips here +
Based in Singapore, Vivian Lim organized a response for migrants in her community and coordinated volunteers to distribute masks, hand sanitizers, bar soaps, and personal hygiene awareness messages. Explore the Leaders: Asia-Pacific program +
HYDE PARK — With parts of the city shutting down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brave Space Alliance is assembling resources to help queer and trans residents on the South Side, taking its programming online and creating a crisis pantry to get food to those in need. Read the article +
Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leader Sherry Soon distributed 7,000 thank you notes and care packages for medical staff currently on the frontlines of the outbreak.
We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while. They’re giving everything. May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this. https://t.co/F3tsJTqd4c
More heartwarming content alert! I talked to the aquarium that is letting their penguins wander freely after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and they gave me more adorable photos 😭 https://t.co/hGyaehalIB
Grubhub announced it will temporarily forgo $100 million in commissions on the meals it delivers from independent restaurants as a way of helping those businesses contend with the coronavirus epidemic. Read the full article +
Just visiting my 82yo mum in her apartment block in Beeston and saw these notes on the door - really touched by the kindness and community spirit shown. There are some good things coming out of this. #kindnesspic.twitter.com/csPBq2vpxA
Between the empty grocery store shelves, scary headlines, and mass closures, it’s hard not to feel like the world is ending. Which is why Medium Rare owner Mark Bucher wanted to do something to make people’s lives a little easier. Read the full article +
As many people across the United States hunker down in their homes because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, @BenSPLATT is trying to ease everyone's anxiety. https://t.co/b7jaPldt8y
Jayden Perez, 11, and his family will donate over 1,000 hand sanitizer sprays to the borough school district, fire department, police department and library as concerns around the spread of COVID-19 grow. Read the full article +
ROME — It started with the national anthem. Then came the piano chords, trumpet blasts, violin serenades and even the clanging of pots and pans — all of it spilling from people’s homes, out of windows and from balconies, and rippling across rooftops. Read the full New York Times article +
CHICAGO — As stores struggle to keep enough hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on their shelves, a South Side advocacy group is working to get these items in the hands of Chicago seniors and people with disabilities to help them as coronavirus spreads. Read the full article +
Take a closer look at the organization providing Coronavirus prevention supplies to seniors in Chicago.
I went to the grocery store this afternoon. As I was walking in I heard a woman yell to me from her car. I walked over and found an elderly woman and her husband. She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store.
HaiSous owners handing out 100 meals for free to Pilsen community members in need and low paid restaurant industry workers struggling to survive during uncertain times. https://t.co/ogwc86fWuI Via @BlockClubCHI
People of America...Important News: All my restaurants in DC area are closed until further notice. Here at @ThinkFoodGroup safety of employees & guests is too priority. Some restaurants will transform into Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/3HTyT607ZI
Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you're able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.