Amanda Gleason Rider

Walking School Bus a Lesson in Happiness

“I always have a good day on Wednesdays,” says 12-year-old Albert Carter. The reason? That’s when he participates in his school’s walking school bus. Each week, a group of spirited senior citizens—including 66-year-old Jo Ann Washington and 80-year-old Bertha Barnes—along with other volunteers, chaperone about a dozen children on the 1-mile morning trek from East Berry Branch Library to Christene C. Moss Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s important to walk because when you wake up i

Ruthie's Rolling Cafe Puts Kindness on the Menu

On the morning of July 8, 2016, news cameras gathered outside the Dallas Police Department’s downtown headquarters following the deadly police shootings that shocked the country the previous night. Amid the frenzy, a brightly painted food truck and purveyor of grilled cheese sandwiches—Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe—scooted past the barricades and crime scene tape to feed officers who had worked through the night after the tragedy. “We were their nourishment for that morning,” says Ashlee Hunt Kleinert,

The Birthday Party Project Gives Homeless Kids a Day to Sparkle

Each month, 31 homeless shelters across the country serve as the backdrop for children’s birthday celebrations, transforming into magical settings where dance parties, spirited renditions of “Happy Birthday” and gleeful squeals combine to form just the right amount of controlled chaos. The organization behind the magic is The Birthday Party Project (TBPP), a North Texas-based nonprofit with event planner Paige Chenault at the helm. Its mission? To throw birthday parties for kids in homeless she

Gianna Simone Fights the Good Fight

Fresh off the set of the 10-episode sitcom Hitting the Breaks and the 2017 film God Bless the Broken Road, model-turned-actress Gianna Simone says performing has always been in her heart. “As a child, I would build tents by myself and come out of them singing, dancing and taking on different characters,” she says. But the road hasn’t always been smooth for Gianna. As a child, she faced abuse and neglect that eventually led her into the foster care system. “Despite how hopeless it was at times,

Make-A-Wish: Where Science and Hope Meet

Spend enough time with 4-year-old Kellan Tilton, and you’ll likely be met with a barrage of similar conversations, since that’s how the spunky boy defines happiness. “It’s when people laugh really hard at my knock, knock jokes,” he says. Kellan started chemotherapy on the third day of his life after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Paralyzed from the waist down, he began using a wheelchair at 17 months. “You’re never prepared—how can you be?” asks Elizabeth Tilton, Kellan’s mom. “It’s a lea

Two years ago, three creative minds came together to launch an organization that’s changing the Plano community. And just how did they decide who would assume which responsibilities? A couple rounds of Rock Paper Scissors, of course., a makerspace launched by Roxy Dehart, Richard Gowen, and Shawn Porter (pictured above), may have gotten off to a whimsical start, but that’s what you’d expect from an organization that dubs itself a “do-acracy” — meaning if you want something done, you j
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