Cross Safely.

Photo by Timothy Allen 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 see our privacy policy for details.

Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.

Download PDF Word .doc Download Photo .jpg

Pass It On®

Cross Safely.

How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.

By The Foundation for a Better Life

Ron had a good life as a sales rep and as a father. When retirement came around and the kids were grown, Ron looked around his community and saw a lot of aimless young boys just wandering the streets after school. So he checked in at the local community center and volunteered to coach a youth team. And another, and another.

As the sports changed with the seasons, Ron picked up new crops of boys, added a few of their parents to help out and taught the same principles: hard work, fair play, discipline and accountability. In his mid-70s, Ron strode up and down the sidelines, the hardwood, the dugout, shouting instructions to his boys and moving them into the best position to be successful.

Mistakes were shrugged off with lighthearted comments: “I think your batting helmet was on backwards for that swing.” And the classic: “Did I tell you to drop the ball?” There would be a bit of laughter, and Ron would always retort with a half-smile: “Don’t drop the ball unless I tell you to.”

The boys learned not to take mistakes too seriously, but to recognize them and work on changing habits. They learned that everybody gets a turn and deserves to be supported. When one quiet boy recovered a fumble for the first time, he was so overcome by his teammates lifting him onto their shoulders that he burst into tears.

Another boy, whose parents had just split up, decided he’d sit on the bench for the game. Every time a player was subbed out, the player sat next to the boy and put an arm around him. It was the kind of family he needed at the moment.

Every new season began the same way, with Ron giving each boy a nickname: Thunder, Superman, Rocket. It was a way of joining the family, of starting fresh, of being part of a group that would stand beside you. For 10 years Ron raised hundreds of boys on the philosophy that they will do great things if you just give them a little encouragement and a lot of practice time.

Ron retired when he had a mini-stroke. He didn’t tell anybody; he just lay low for a year. Then one of his former players spotted him working as a crossing guard. It was something that got him out of bed in the morning, still wanting to keep kids safe. Word spread, and most mornings, former players drove by and honked their horns or bent their jogging routes to go past him and say hello. It wasn’t orchestrated — just one of those things that happens when bonds are strong and memories swell up gratitude in your chest.

Mentoring... PassItOn.com®

Copyright ©2022 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/

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Pass It On®

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.

  email

Your Comments

Here are some other inspiring newspaper articles you might like.
If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.

Stay Curious.

Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

Trusting Those Who Guide Us Through Life.

Trusting Those Who Guide Us Through Life.
The amazing brotherhood of aviation navigators.

Taking the Fear Out of Surgery.

Taking the Fear Out of Surgery.
How one doctor helps children face their hospital fears by dressing them up as superheroes.

The Art of Doing Good.

The Art of Doing Good.
How 18-year-old Gloria Barron Prize winner Austin Picinich is saving the salmon of Seattle by painting community murals.

How to Honor Your Mother.

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.

A Legend On and Off the Court.

A Legend On and Off the Court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sold his four championship rings and three MVP trophies for $2.8 million. Then he donated all of the money to support youth education programs

The Key to Life.

The Key to Life.
Father-and-son locksmiths Phil and Philip Mortillaro share the simple wisdom of being happy. From the StoryCorps collection.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.

Everybody Gets on Base.

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

The Art of Pitching.

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

Teach Your Children.

Teach Your Children.
How Graham Nash is still leading children into a better future.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.

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.

Using the Write Words

Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.

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

Running to Win isn’t Always Running to Come in First.

Running to Win isn’t Always Running to Come in First.
Jacqueline Nyetipei Kiplimo demonstrates what really matters in life and in sports.

Let the Kids Give it a Try

Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.

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

Being a Mother…

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

To All who are Lost: You will be Found Again.

To All who are Lost: You will be Found Again.
The amazing story of the missing marathon runner who turned up 54 years later.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.

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

The Frozen Race to Save Lives.

The Frozen Race to Save Lives.
The 1925 dog sled run to deliver serum across Alaska covered 674 miles with 20 mushers and 150 dogs.

The World Awaits You.

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

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.

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.

More Than Just Dancing

More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad 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.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.

Bear with Me!

Bear with Me!
The story of Wojtek the bear, who joined the Polish Army in WWll.

Let the Music Move You.

Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.

A Custom of Respect.

A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.

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.

How Far Would you go for a Friend?

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.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.

Laughter is the Best Medicine.

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.

A Diamond in the Making.

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.

Bigger than Life.

Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.

The Science of Happiness.

The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.

Never, Ever Give Up.

Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.

Dream Big.

Dream Big.
How a young artist from a remote mountainous tribe came to illustrate one of the most popular books of our time: ‘The Archer,’ by Paulo Coelho

The Weight We Carry and the Burdens We Share.

The Weight We Carry and the Burdens We Share.
The life of best-selling author Isabelle Allende is a mission to bring relief to the suffering and a call to join the effort.

From Homeless to Johns Hopkins.

From Homeless to Johns Hopkins.
Life is never fair. But if you work hard enough, and help someone along the way, you give yourself a better chance to make it.

Photographs that Changed the World.

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.

Unlikely Friends with Common Roots.

Unlikely Friends with Common Roots.
From the StoryCorps archives, a story of two friends from the same side of the tracks, with very different backgrounds.

Hope. Dream. Become.

Hope. Dream. Become.
Expressing emotions in a healthy way helps us see the world for what it is and, more importantly, how we choose to engage with it. Check out these young poetry winners from the WPSU poetry contest in Pennsylvania.

Taking Care.

Taking Care.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.

Family of 7 Adopts a Grandpa.

Family of 7 Adopts a Grandpa.
Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. But love is universal.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.

Never Give Up.

Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.

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.

Reach for the Stars…

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

Fix it Yourself.

Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.

Winning at the Game of Life.

Winning at the Game of Life.
College football player gives up his scholarship to make more possible for a teammate.

Lift Your Voice, Use Your Mind, Lift Others.

Lift Your Voice, Use Your Mind, Lift Others.
How a spark plug of a teacher ignites possibilities within her students in classroom 161.

Education is for Everyone.

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.

To the Coaches of Pint-sized Athletes.

To the Coaches of Pint-sized Athletes.
All year round, you’ll find brave dads and moms standing in the rink, on the field and in the gymnasium — surrounded by eager eyes and short attention spans. Here’s to the volunteers in our communities who teach our kids life lessons and never forget the orange slices.

Born to Make a Difference.

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

Rescuing a Vessel — and a Family’s Memories.

Rescuing a Vessel — and a Family’s Memories.
A boat at the bottom of the lake for 30 years and a renewed appreciation for life when it is restored.

Courage in a New World.

Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.

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 Last American Explorer.

The Last American Explorer.
Norman Vaughan trekked Antarctica with Admiral Byrd, completed the Iditarod 13 times and climbed the 10,000-foot, icy mountain named after him at age 89.

The Calm in the Storm.

The Calm in the Storm.
Being that one voice of encouragement in a community makes all the difference.

Finding Our Way.

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.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.

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.

Give Peace a Chance.

Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.

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.

Matter In Motion.

Matter In Motion.
How a physics professor is igniting the scientific passions of her female students.

From Russia, With Love.

From Russia, With Love.
The incredible story of Russian sculptor Andrey and his mission to bring unity to Ukraine and Russia through art.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.

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

Bee Productive.

Bee Productive.
17-year-old Gloria Barron Prize winner Anna Devolld is helping small things make a difference: Pollinators.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.

An Impossible Journey.

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

Taking Responsibility.

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

Curing Cancer, One Bar of Soap at a Time.

Curing Cancer, One Bar of Soap at a Time.
14-year-old Heman Bekele awarded the 3M Young Scientist Award for developing a soap that activates skin cells to fight cancer.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.

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

Teamwork that Saves Lives.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.

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.

The Taming of the West Featuring Diamond Kitty.

The Taming of the West Featuring Diamond Kitty.
It’s time to give cowgirls their due. Kitty Canutt was a bronc rider in the early 1900s who wore a diamond in her tooth that she occasionally removed and pawned when she needed contest entry money.

How to Land an Airplane Without Landing Gear.

How to Land an Airplane Without Landing Gear.
17-year-old Maggie Taraska landed her airplane without landing gear on her way to flying solo cross-country.

From the Beach to the Desert.

From the Beach to the Desert.
How a group of ambitious kids from Laguna Beach High School in California are digging wells in Kenya.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.

Beatrice Shilling

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

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.

A Voice for Our Time.

A Voice for Our Time.
The improbable dream journey of singer-songwriter Kodi Lee.

Love Rules.

Love Rules.
How Rick Moranis shrunk his role as an actor to be with his kids.

Listening to the Music Inside.

Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.

Recognizing the Need.

Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man

Doubling Back for a Friend.

Doubling Back for a Friend.
Two teammates paused their 5K race to help a fellow competitor.

Understanding Our Universe.

Understanding Our Universe.
In a suburban neighborhood, the angst of the world still reaches a group of elementary kids. Bob stares at the stars with them and explains the universe and how there is order to everything.

To Stay or Run?

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.

How To Be Free.

How To Be Free.
Eliza Zenger teaches dance, music and arts to adults with disabilities. Their performance is the most beautiful you will ever see.

The Woman Who Talks to Trees.

The Woman Who Talks to Trees.
Understanding the power of relationships in the natural world will help us heal the people we share our communities with.

The Birth of Superman.

The Birth of Superman.
How two awkward teenage boys dreamed up the world’s most popular superhero.

The Mistakes We Learn From and Build On.

The Mistakes We Learn From and Build On.
Every year, a handful of students in prisons across America take stock of their lives and make changes. Many earn their diplomas, ensuring better options and choices when they get out.

Road Trip Across America.

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

Anatomy of a Bestseller.

Anatomy of a Bestseller.
How “Gray’s Anatomy,” a book of drawings featuring blood vessels, muscles, the nervous system and other squeamish things, came to be one of the world’s most widely read books.

Something Healthy for All of Us

Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Gloria Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.

From First Response to 11 Years of Friendship.

From First Response to 11 Years of Friendship.
How EMTs saved a life and then enjoyed living it together.

The Friendship Heard Round the World.

The Friendship Heard Round the World.
Luz Long and Jesse Owens struck up a friendship at the 1936 Olympics that transcended sport, race and history.

Respecting Your Customers.

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.

What we Learn About Ourselves from the Boys in the Boat.

What we Learn About Ourselves from the Boys in the Boat.
Joe Rantz overcame childhood scarlet fever, abandonment and depression to become the oak-strong oarsman of the winning boat that shocked the world in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

If You Don’t Know Anything About Orangutans, You Don’t Know Jack.

If You Don’t Know Anything About Orangutans, You Don’t Know Jack.
Meet Jack Dalton, Gloria Barron Prize Winner and the nature conservationist who started by saving the orangutans at age 8.

Going the Distance.

Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.

No Strings Attached.

No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.

If a Man Asks for Bread, Will You Give Him a Stone?

If a Man Asks for Bread, Will You Give Him a Stone?
Treating people, even prisoners, with respect is what food service giant Bill Mouskondis is all about.

Overcoming Fear Sometimes Requires a Patient Friend.

Overcoming Fear Sometimes Requires a Patient Friend.
How a flight attendant took the time to comfort a passenger who was having panic attacks.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.

The Least Likely to Help.

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

Walking and Learning and Appreciating what we Have.

Walking and Learning and Appreciating what we Have.
Neil King’s walk from Washington, D.C., to New York City uncovered the gems of slowing down.

Playtime is for Everybody.

Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.

The Future Belongs to Kids.

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

Getting 100 on her Final Exam.

Getting 100 on her Final Exam.
Nola Ochs went back to college at 95 years old. At age 100, she had earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was still taking classes.

A Hero for Accessibility.

A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.

Out of the Village and On to Break Records.

Out of the Village and On to Break Records.
The incredible story of Makazole Mapimpi, the first South African to score in a Rugby World Cup Final. Against almost impossible personal odds, Makazole succeeded, a triumph of the human spirit.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.

The History of Us.

The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.

Not Out of the Way, Along the Way.

Not Out of the Way, Along the Way.
Taking the long way to school makes for a long friendship.