Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It is of my opinion that newscasters, all of them from television to radio to the writers of the printed material, love to broadcast the most negative stories they can dig up. We all know life can be tough, we all know that shit happens and that bad stuff happens to good people. We get it already! There are also plenty of good things happening in life but for some reason it's usually only the bad stuff that gets blasted all over the waves. You watch them on television, the females all gussied up looking camera-perfect, the guys in their suits and ties, just bursting at the seams, each with a gleam in their eyes that says they just can't wait to depress you with their news. Makes you wonder if they actually go driving around looking for these so-called "newsworthy" events. Where do they come up with all of it, much less why do they think we need to know about every little thing. In this catvent here we try never to watch or listen to the majority of it. I really don't know what it is....the news itself or the presentation that bothers me more.

On the other side of the fence, however, once in a while we hear of something positive happening in the world. A story that is much more worthy of passing along other than the usual hullabaloo we normally hear about. I learned about just such a story from one of my readers and it is the kind of story we'd all like to hear more of so I am going to Pass it Forward on my blog.

This story was actually featured on CNN and you can probably go to to read about it online.

It starts with a gentleman named Jeff Parness, a native New Yorker and a survivor of the September 11th attacks. Jeff was actually in the lobby of one of the Twin Towers when the attack occurred. His business partner was up on another floor and did not survive. As the article sent to me stated, Jeff's son actually came up with the idea to help other cities who have suffered a disaster. One thing led to another and soon they began a foundation called "New York Says Thank You". Since 2004 the foundation has had more than 7,000 volunteers participate in the group's projects.

This story came to me because one of my readers is currently volunteering two months of her summer to help the people of Greensburg, Kansas. Remember they suffered through that devastating tornado that took their entire community down to nothing but the front porch steps in 2007. She gives guided tours explaining their rebuilding process and their goal of building back stronger and greener. She happens to work with a gentleman who just returned from a trip to Ellijay, Georgia. Ellijay was hit with a tornado in April and he was volunteering his services to help reconstruct a barn for a lady by the name of Susan Littlejohn.

You see...this story just keeps getting better. Susan Littlejohn is an angel in my book because she has dedicated her life to providing a place for rescued animals in Ellijay. She cared for these abandoned animals from horses, llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep, lambs, ducks, pigs, doves, etc. on less than a shoestring of a budget. She was down to her last $3.00 and had been praying that something would come through for her when the town was hit with the tornado. The animals Susan rescued were sheltered in her barn which the tornado completely destroyed. Miraculously Susan, her two volunteers and all the animals survived the storm.

This is where the New York Says Thank You Foundation pays it forward. Through this foundation many selfless volunteers will rebuild an even better structure to house these abandoned critters. Now Susan will be able to help more animals and more people. Susan also uses these animals as therapeutic companions for disabled children and senior citizens. She also allows juvenile offenders to be sent to her by the court system in three counties so that she can teach them skills in caring for the animals as a way to perform community service and build personal character. Susan is indeed a special lady and her intent is to not only follow her calling, as she was quoted to say, but to also inspire other kids, families and adults to VOLUNTEER.

No doubt Susan pays it forward. I'm so glad my reader passed this story along to me and that she was fortunate enough to work alongside the gentleman who was able to help Susan in Georgia and learn about Mr. Parness and his wonderful foundation. The world could definitely use more "paying it forward" stories versus what's usually reported. I encourage you to learn more about these people and their stories of strength and survival. Oh...and practice paying it forward whenever there is an opportunity.
Watch for a documentary coming out in September featuring Jeff Parness and Greensburg, Kansas titled - "New York Says Thank You, The Movie".
Sister VC

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