Positive Good News Columns

The Foundation for a Better Life is pleased to offer, at no charge, these life affirming true stories to you and your readers.

For 21 years, our Pass It On campaign promoting positive values has provided uplifting and encouraging messages. You may have noticed them on TV where they are viewed over 50 million times each day. Nielsen Media Research tells us they are the “most watched” PSA’s in the country. Through broadcast distribution, the internet and streaming they are also seen in over 200 countries. Additionally, our billboard campaign was recognized by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America as “...the most successful public service campaign in the history of outdoor advertising.”

And now, newspapers. We are excited about the opportunity! If your readers are looking for inspiration, we believe these messages will be rewarding. Each week, the Pass It On series will feature a new story to hopefully provide an uplifting moment in someone’s day and then... pass it on. We trust that they will come to look forward to them. Thank you for considering these for your readers. The Foundation for a Better Life is a 501(c)3 organization.

The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing media-relations@passiton.com. Thank you.

To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address. Thanks!

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Beatrice Shilling
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.

Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling had a penchant for speed. In 1913, at age 14, she bought her first motorcycle. She tinkered with it and roared around the English countryside, eventually racing for the British Motorcycle Racing Club. Read Story

ENCOURAGEMENT
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The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.

Summertime brings out miniature baseball players, sliding in the dust, chasing errant balls and constantly adjusting caps. It is the season for kids to be out in the sun, working on eye-hand coordination and, most importantly, dugout chants. A game with so much time spent standing around requires clever chants to keep young minds occupied. Read Story

CONFIDENCE
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For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.

Julian was having a difficult day at work. Projects were due, and his boss had just made major changes to a spreadsheet that would mean a long night. Julian isn’t the type to get angry, but he does get withdrawn. Taking a deep breath, he gathered himself and went out to grab a late lunch that would also serve as dinner. Read Story

SHARING
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The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes features some pretty remarkable kids. Teens are cleaning up our oceans, feeding their underserved peers, creating tutoring networks and collecting donations for the homeless. Many have used their screen time to mobilize volunteer efforts in ways that the previous generation just couldn’t do. Read Story

OPPORTUNITY
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An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.

In May 1869, John Wesley Powell, a former Union Army major who had lost most of his right arm in the Battle of Shiloh, led 10 explorers in launching four heavy wooden boats loaded to the gunwales with 10 months of supplies. Read Story

PERSEVERANCE
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A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.

In 1988, Charles Kuralt discovered a story of heroism that would have disappeared from history were it not for the determination of a former Russian prisoner who vowed to thank the men who saved his life and the lives of many of his comrades. During the 40 years of the Cold War, Dr. Nikita Aseyev kept the names of the American soldiers safe and close to his heart. Read Story

HUMANITY
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Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.

There’s a story in football that goes all the way back to 1929. Roy Riegels of Cal picked up a fumble and nearly returned the ball to the endzone … for the opposing team. He had to be tackled by a teammate and earned the nickname “Wrong Way Riegels.” He was so distraught that his coach had to talk him into returning to the game. Read Story

OVERCOMING
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The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.

Reggie spent his college years on the ski team. Summers, he worked odd jobs and water-skied. His life was perfect, as he describes it. Outdoors most of the time, doing homework with buddies at the ski lodge. He moved on to law school and started his own practice so he’d have time to ski. His kids learned the art of the graceful turn in waist-high powder, and all were easily identified by their raccoon faces and smiles that hold memories of the latest best ski day. Read Story

GIVE BACK
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Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.

From the heartland to urban parks, the release of school kids onto the baseball diamonds signals the beginning of summer. There was a time when baseball was the only summer game. But with competition from soccer and lacrosse, the clap of leather gloves in around-the-horn warmups is not as omnipresent as it used to be. Still, America’s game is a place for young boys to prove themselves in their pre-adolescent tribes. Read Story

LOVE
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Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.

The billionaire space race is on. And it rivals the competition between Russia and the USA in the early ’60s. In Trekkie language, space is “the final frontier.” What has changed since those early days of Star Trek and Apollo missions is the hairstyles and the technology, but not the imagination of space dreamers everywhere. Read Story

ENCOURAGEMENT
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Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.

The early morning sun shelters behind the Rocky Mountains, and it’s not until you reach Wyoming that it’s up full. Seeing America by car has re-emerged. Perhaps pent-up travelers want to move about with no schedules and restraints. Read Story

FAMILY
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Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.

Li lives in a small New England town. She had two dreams growing up: to be a nurse and to raise a family. She got through nursing school OK; she says the classwork was much harder than being with patients. Read Story

LOVE
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Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.

Wally Funk became the oldest person to visit space. She’s 82 years young! Better late than never. Probably the last thing Wally Funk wants to hear. She just flew into space at age 82 after completing her spaceflight training in the 1960s. Read Story

DREAM
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Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

So little was known about the depths of the sea in the mid 1930s. An entire world lay beneath the ships, yet it was mostly inaccessible. Staring out at endless ocean waters had spiked the imaginations of sailors for centuries. Tales of fantastic beasts and cursed currents filled their minds and kept them planted firmly on the decks. Read Story

WONDER
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Taking Responsibility.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.

Maria and her parents moved to the US from Brazil one year before the pandemic. Better education opportunities lay ahead, and they were excited to get Maria into an American high school to prepare for college. Read Story

RESPONSIBILITY
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The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

The name Jeanne Baret is hardly a household name. She was born in rural France in the mid 1700s and her family teetered on the edge of poverty. But Jeanne was an unusual woman -- curious, intelligent, and determined to leave her small village to see what lies beyond. Little did she know how far she would go. Read Story

AMBITION
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Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.

Kids these days. Seems they spend most of their time with their noses pointed at their phones or their eyeballs frantically moving to the flashes of video games. It’s easy to be a bit pessimistic about the future. But if you look closely, there are young minds solving major world problems. Read Story

HOPE
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Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.

Miss Arbury teaches history at the local high school. On the excitement scale, learning history for most kids sits somewhere between math and art. A few cool things and lots of facts to memorize. And yet Miss Arbury’s classes have been the favorites at her school for over two decades. Read Story

HUMOR
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Sometimes, Quiet Listening has the Power to Save a Life

For most of us, teaching seventh-grade English would be akin to an eternal assignment teaching flying monkeys to sit still. Just thinking about it, we might feel Dorothy’s terror at being carried away. But not for Miss Smith. Read Story

MENTORS
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The Simplest Word in our Language Can be the Most Inclusive

Junior high school can be a punishing place. It’s where extroverts thrive, introverts are pushed aside and class distinctions are sharply defined as adolescents try to find a place to belong. Read Story

HI
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How One Life Can Change a World

On the choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal, somewhere between Rangoon and the northeast coast of India, a ship packed with migrant workers returns to Andhra Pradesh. One of the workers stares out at the waves and has a dream about the 2-year-old son he hasn’t seen since birth. The dream is filled with colors—and promise. Read Story

GIVING BACK
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Extending a Hand Even During Personal Struggle

For years, Arthur ran a car dealership in a small town on the edge of the Australian Outback. The lot was full of the kind of vehicles that could take you into a stark landscape, and at night, the sky overhead blossomed with stars, anchored by the Southern Cross. Read Story

COMPASSION
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The Life and Influence of John James Audubon

Before photography, the natural world was captured in paintings and sketches by artists like John Audubon, whose remarkable illustrations of birds have endured for 200 years. One of his contemporaries remarked that Audubon’s work “represented the passions and feelings of the birds,” something photography could not do. Read Story

PERSEVERANCE
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Mary Anderson, the Woman who Invented the Windshield Wiper

Sometimes it just takes looking at things a little differently in order to solve a problem. Sometimes we don’t even realize there is a problem until we ask questions that begin with why? Read Story

INNOVATION
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The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.

Dorothy Vaughan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, just 45 years after the Civil War ended. At times, her load must have felt heavy, earthbound, during a time when African American women questioned how they would move beyond the barriers they faced. Read Story

SHOOT FOR THE MOON
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How Kids Have Used Their Imagination to Create Some of the Most Beloved Products

We always talk about the beauty of a child’s unlimited imagination, as if we long to capture and access those curiosities into our adulthood. It is indeed a wonder what children come up with. And maybe if we practice seeing the world through their eyes, we might see the world differently ourselves---one of endless possibilities. So here are a few things born of childhood curiosity. Read Story

IMAGINATION
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The Power of Just Being There

Bill is a Navy vet and retired oil field engineer. His hands are thick, and his fingers branch out in all directions. Pulling on ropes as a sailor off the coast of Maine gnarled a few of them. The others were jammed playing baseball in the South African semi-pro league. He has a story for every break, and for why he leans a bit starboard. Read Story

BE THERE
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How a Community of One Grows to Include More

Richard is a quiet man with a gentleness that belies his height. He stands a good four inches over six feet but has a friendly-giant smile that embraces everyone around him. He makes a modest living that allows him time for a hobby he is passionate about---raising pigeons. Read Story

COMMUNITY
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Believe in Others

Wrestling is the ultimate sport: One-on-one, you win or lose; it’s up to you. Which sounds a bit harsh to gangly high school boys trying to fit in socially as well as win a little respect on the mat. Read Story

BELIEVE IN OTHERS
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Get Up Early and Give Back

On a Sunday morning so cold the only people on the streets are the unhoused, the Rev stands, wearing an apron, near the entrance to a warehouse. A line of people gathers outside the Reverend’s ministry. Read Story

GIVE BACK
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Finding Slow Purpose in a Fast World

In quiet neighborhoods, you find quiet people going about their lives, doing good things. Harold is one of those people. An introvert by nature, he finds himself happiest while changing the brake pads on an old truck or replacing a water heater. Read Story

PURPOSE
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A tradition of kindness on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a rugged footpath that runs from Northern Georgia to Central Maine along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. It passes through 14 states and all kinds of unpredictable weather. At age 21, Nick, an avid outdoorsman raised in Maine, decided the journey would be a good adventure. Read Story

KINDNESS
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Being There, Being Present

Fifty years ago, autumn in a small town meant the annual coming of age ritual that brings boys and their fathers together: the Pinewood Derby. Long before technology and yearlong organized sports, there was room in the calendar for a month of evenings together, carving, sanding, gluing, polishing axles, and finally christening. Read Story

BE THERE
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Courage To Do

In 1841, a physically imposing, twenty-three year- old Frederick Douglass leaned against the rail of a ferry headed for Nantucket. He contemplated the wake widening out behind him and second- guessed his decision to travel after 3 years of trying to remain inconspicuous as a runaway. Read Story

COURAGE
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Earning Trust

Nancy was suddenly a single mother. Her husband of 17 years passed away leaving her with kids to finish raising and no savings. Nancy was from a hardworking family but she lacked skills. Read Story

TRUST
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Forgiveness Heals Us

Forgiveness isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we think it needs to be earned rather than freely given. As a young father, Davis was working to remodel and maintain his home. There’s nothing like the pride you take in that first home, no matter how much work it needs, it’s yours by sweat and sacrifice. Read Story

FORGIVENESS
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Let Gratitude Move You to Action

Our modern culture tends to focus on past regrets and future uncertainty. It is the present where we need to focus, on who we are and what we can be. Something we could learn from the Ojibwe tribe in the mid-Northern states and Ontario, Canada. Read Story

GRATITUDE
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Love and Healing

Nelda was 23 years old and pregnant with her third daughter during the Great Depression, living in a hardscrabble western town with hard-packed dirt roads lined with desert flowers that somehow managed to push up through the cracked clay. Read Story

LOVE
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Getting Outside is the Best Way to Get Rid of the Blues

Brad’s idea of a good time is to swim across the lake at the base of the Grand Tetons, then hike to the top peak and back again on the same day. Sometimes his wife Sheila will join him for the hike portion. Read Story

GET OUTSIDE
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The Tenacity to See the Stars

One of the most often used behavioral descriptors today is Attention Deficit Disorder, which basically means unable to sit still or focus for longer than a few minutes. Read Story

TENACITY
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The Road to Appreciation

Mick is a big man with long hair and beard that would place him naturally onstage with the Grateful Dead. Today he is looking at motorcycles, the kind that move easily from asphalt to dirt to unmarked desert. Read Story

APPRECIATE NATURE
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You Can Do This

Roland is trim and fit. Yet in his early forties, his knees are giving him trouble. He hobbles across the infield of the track, shouting encouragement to runners, pausing to give a little instruction, gathering the hundred or so small athletes together for organized drills and stretches. Read Story

YOU CAN DO THIS
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