Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash
To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address.
We will email you when we add new stories each month. Thanks!
Note: We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our contact data or lists to third parties.
Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.
Download Photo .jpg
At 17 years old, most people are still struggling to parallel park. Yes, it takes a bit of practice. And once the car is parked, the day is packed with school activities and homework and just hanging out with friends. But at 17, Maggie Taraska had an outrageous goal in mind: Fly solo across the United States.
Both of Maggie’s parents are Air Force veterans, so the urge to be airborne is in Maggie’s genes. So she went to flight school, put in the hours with an instructor and started on her solo hours. But on her first solo takeoff, out of a small airport in Massachusetts, something didn’t sound right. The plane had lost one of the landing gear wheels.
“As soon as I took off, I heard something,” Maggie said. “I just felt something was wrong instinctively.”
The Piper Cub had plenty of gas, so her instructor had time to talk her through the maneuvers from the ground while she circled a few times to gather herself.
“I was just petrified. I was thinking about all of the bad things that could’ve happened; I was thinking about how my parents were on the ground and I knew that they were watching.”
Stress and panic can cause any of us to make rash decisions. It takes mental practice to calm down. Take a few breaths, focus on the moment, follow the plan. And remember to breathe. “I panicked a bit, but I followed my training.”
Maggie was a little shaky as she talked to the tower, but she executed a perfect belly landing that skidded on the infield grass. Her father couldn’t be more proud.
“By the time I saw Maggie on her approach, it was a better approach than I could’ve flown,” he said. Cheers erupted in the tower when she landed, and Maggie took a deep breath and climbed out of the plane.
Credit does go to the crew for talking her through the procedure. We all need someone to talk us through challenging times. But in the end, it was all Maggie at the controls.
We could all be forgiven for calling it quits after an ordeal like that. After all, it was a bit traumatic. So walking away would be understandable. But five days later, Maggie was going through her pre-flight safety inspections, checking under the hood, checking the wings, and especially checking the landing gear.
“It feels amazing,” she said about being up in the air again. “It feels really freeing.”
At some point in our lives, we will all be in a situation for the first time. It’s scary. But if you face your fears, the whole world opens up to you.
Stay Calm... PassItOn.com®
Copyright ©2023 The Foundation for a Better Life. All rights reserved. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (international): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
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 email@example.com. Thank you.
For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.
Education is for Everyone.
Reading and writing are the basics of an education. See why a 90-year-old Kenyan great-grandmother went back to primary school.
Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.
Photographs that Changed the World.
How the searing photographs of Walker Evans’ America during the Depression created a national change in attitude toward the poor.
Not Out of the Way, Along the Way.
Taking the long way to school makes for a long friendship.
How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.
Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.
Allie Newman not only survived cancer but also helps hospitals better meet the needs of teenage cancer patients.
The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.
The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.
How one man created a forest the size of Central Park by planting one tree a day.
Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.
Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.
Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.
Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.
Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.
A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.
The Curse of Texting and Driving.
How one father turned personal tragedy into triumph for thousands of teenagers by creating the Honor Connor Scholarship Fund.
The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.
To Stay or Run?
The courageous story of a collegiate wrestler who fought a grizzly bear to save a friend. With thanks to the Cowboy State Daily.
Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.
Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man
Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.
Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.
The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.
A Diamond in the Making.
How an everyday superhero saved the day by taking time to go through the garbage to find a stranger’s wedding ring.
A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.
Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.
Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.
Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.
A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.
Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.
The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.
Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.
Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.
A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.
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.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.
Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.
The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.
Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.
How 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth tinkered his way to the technology that broadcast the moon landing.
The Birth of Superman.
How two awkward teenage boys dreamed up the world’s most popular superhero.
Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.
Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.
The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.
If You Don’t Know Anything About Orangutans, You Don’t Know Jack.
Meet Jack Dalton, Barron Prize Winner and the nature conservationist who started by saving the orangutans at age 8.
Respecting Your Customers.
As the Great Depression impoverished the country, many families stretched their budgets by making clothes out of flour and seed sacks. What companies did next may surprise you.
Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.
Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.
Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.
Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.
Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.
How to Honor Your Mother.
Warrick Dunn played in the NFL for 12 seasons. His most impressive stat: He’s built 200 homes for single mothers. And he’s not done.
Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.
How a Vietnam vet pulled himself out of drug addiction by going back in the past.
The Calm in the Storm.
Being that one voice of encouragement in a community makes all the difference.
No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.
How Far Would you go for a Friend?
The story of Dindim, the penguin who travels 5,000 miles every year to visit with its rescuer.
It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.
No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.
The day Muhammad Ali rushed to save a stranger who was about to take his own life.
You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.
The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.
The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.
Laughter is the Best Medicine.
While filming ‘Schindler’s List,’ weekly calls from Robin Williams helped Steven Spielberg ease the weight of directing such a heavy film.
More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.
Overcoming Fear Sometimes Requires a Patient Friend.
How a flight attendant took the time to comfort a passenger who was having panic attacks.
How Rick Moranis shrunk his role as an actor to be with his kids.
Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.
Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.
Finding Our Way.
Using the natural elements around her, Kala Baybayan Tanaka navigates the ocean in a canoe for up to three weeks using nothing but observations of the natural elements around her.
For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.
Fortune and fame have allowed the soccer great to take care of his mother after all she has done for him.
If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.
Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.
Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.
Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.
Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.
Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.
The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.
Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.
An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.
When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.
The legacy of Susan La Flesche, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.
Click the like button above to access our facebook page, then ‘like us’ to get a dose of positivity in your feed.No thanks