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It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: February 7, 2019

Catherine Garcia
Jonah Larson.
Screenshot/YouTube
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1.

There's nothing this 11-year-old crocheting prodigy can't make

When Jonah Larson was 5 years old, he taught himself how to crochet by watching YouTube tutorials, and now, six years later, he's built his own crocheting empire. The 11-year-old from La Crosse, Wisconsin, has his own business, Jonah's Hands; he takes orders from customers and also sells one-of-a-kind wares online. In videos he posts to his popular Instagram account, Jonah makes it look easy, his fingers flying as he crochets his latest beautiful creation. "When I see my crochet work when it's done, it blows my mind to know that I, an 11-year-old with a tiny hook and a ball of yarn, made this amazing afghan, scarf, cowl, you name it," he told NPR. With his profits, Jonah buys more yarn, does some investing, and also gives money to organizations that are important to him; he was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage, and often sends it crocheted items and donations. [NPR, Instagram]

2.

Children in schools across England are now being taught mindfulness

In between math and history, children in England are adding something new to their studies: mindfulness. As part of a study to improve the mental health of children, students in some 370 schools across England will be taught relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and other methods to "help them regulate their emotions," the British government announced this week. The goal is to determine which techniques work best for young people. Kids are under more pressure than ever, and "services like these can lessen the anxiety, pain, and anguish that some teens go through, but also reduce their need for intensive support further down the line," said Imrain Hussain, director of policy and campaigns for the British charity Action for Children. The study, one of the largest of its kind, will run through 2021. [The New York Times]

3.

Strangers in Chicago work together to provide shelter for the homeless during polar vortex

Once Candice Payne heard how cold it would be in Chicago during the polar vortex last week, she grabbed her credit card and rented 20 hotel rooms so homeless people would have a safe and warm place to stay. Her good deed served as inspiration for others, and as word spread, people started pooling their money together to cover the cost of more rooms. Payne and her band of volunteers paid for a total of 60 rooms at a South Side hotel, helping 80 people for three nights, and set up a temporary kitchen in order to feed everyone. A man named Jermaine called Payne an "angel," and told CBS News homeless people "don't get that type of help. I really needed them at that point, so they came right in time." The group is now working on coming up with a more permanent housing solution for the people they helped. [CBS News]

4.

With his library on wheels, retired teacher brings books to tiny villages in Italy

Antonio La Cava believes books are essential and every child should have access to them. That's why the retired Italian schoolteacher has turned a small van into a library on wheels, called the Bibliomotocarro. La Cava drives to rural villages in the southern region of Basilicata so kids living in these small communities can have books, too. "Without a book, so often the child is alone," he told BBC News. "And who can be next to him if not a book, a beautiful page of literature." In the remote village of San Paolo Albanese, there are 270 residents, and just two children. When he pulls into places like this, the kids run up to the Bibliomotocarro, eager to see what's in the traveling library that day. La Cava came up with the idea 20 years ago, he said, because he was "strongly worried about growing old in a country of non-readers." [BBC News]

5.

Marathoner runs 19 miles with lost puppy after rescuing him mid-race

After completing the Chombueng Marathon in Thailand, runner Khemjira Klongsanun came home with a shiny medal and something extra: a new puppy. While running the marathon in January, Klongsanun noticed other competitors were trying not to step on a scared puppy, so she stopped and picked him up. Looking around, Klongsanun saw there were no houses nearby, and figured the dog was lost or abandoned. Not wanting to leave him there all alone, she started running with him in her arms. "Running almost 20 miles carrying [a] dog was truly a challenge," she told reporters. "I did it anyway just because he is adorable." Since no one came forward to claim the puppy, Klongsanun adopted him and named him Chombueng, after the marathon. "Chombueng is a very smart boy," she said. "I'm sure he is going to be happy living with us." [Runner's World]