The Upbeat Everyday Acts
  • Charity Sanders (Photo courtesy of Charity Sanders)

    Charity Sanders admits she's a pretty unlikely beach volleyball player. She grew up in Kansas, for starters, was "lanky and uncoordinated," and her fair skin made the 29-year-old generally avoid direct sun. That, and she's deaf.

    "A minor detail," Sanders writes in a recent email interview with Yahoo News.

    Sanders and Nancy Moore, former standout indoor volleyball players at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., were selected along with another pair of deaf beach volleyball players (Michelle Skowzgird and Shana Lehmann) to represent the U.S. next month in women's beach volleyball at the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria. They'll be seeking the U.S.'s first-ever gold medal in the event—that is, if they can raise enough money to get there.

    While the International Olympic Committee officially sanctions the Deaflympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Special Olympics Committees don't provide funding for athletes looking to attend them—they believe that deaf and hard of hearing

    Read More »from Deaf beach volleyball players launch crowd-funding campaign to get to Deaflympics
  • Ryan Chalmers (Parker Feierbach)

    On Saturday, Ryan Chalmers, completing a 71-day, 3,320-mile cross-country journey covering 16 states in a wheelchair, is set to roll into New York City's Central Park.

    The Paralympian braved the heat of California, the snows of Utah and a lot of steep climbs on his trip from Los Angeles to New York—dubbed Push Across America. He's been doing it to raise both awareness for people with disabilities and money for Stay-Focused, a nonprofit that helps kids with disabilities learn to scuba dive.

    “We have a goal to raise awareness for people with disabilities and show people what adapted sports are all about,” Chalmers told Yahoo News on the phone from Philadelphia, where he's resting before making his final push.

    The 24-year-old has been wheelchair racing since the age of 8 and made the Paralympics team for the London Games in 2012. To cap the end of the cross-country ride, he will be met in Central Park by Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, who

    Read More »from Incredible journey: Paralympian to end cross-country push in wheelchair
  • Letter that accompanied the donation (photo via Facebook)Letter that accompanied the donation (photo via Facebook)

    A trio of caring kids have donated the profits of their lemonade stand business to their local food bank.

    The Utah Food Bank posted a photo of the note that accompanied the donation on its Facebook page.

    Via Facebook:

    Dear Utah Food Bank,

    I wanted to contribute the money I made from my lemonade stand to help feed the hungry.


    Aidan (8)
    Sofia (8)
    Zach (6)

    The letter was accompanied by a check for $36.50, according to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune.

    Utah Food Bank spokeswoman Heidi Cannella told the Upbeat in an email that "1 in 5 Utah kids are unsure where their next meal will come from." The Utah Food Bank "distributed over 34 million pounds of food (the equivalent of over 28 million meals)" in 2012.

    Commenters posted a slew of positive messages on the Utah Food Bank's Facebook page regarding the kids' donation. One person wrote, "That is so awesome! What great kids."

    Another referenced Salt Lake City's Primary Children's Medical Center in her post: "So cute. My girls

    Read More »from Caring kids donate lemonade stand profits to food bank
  • Miss Iowa Nicole Kelly ( Iowa Nicole Kelly (

    Nicole Kelly, the newly crowned Miss Iowa, plans to use her title to help advocate for people with disabilities, reports the DesMoines Register.

    Kelly, 23, was born without her left forearm, according to her biography at (note: site has been intermittently down). Photos can be viewed at the Miss Iowa Facebook page.

    After winning the title, Kelly spoke with CBS-4 News. "It was shocking and overwhelming—just like that your life changes," she said.

    "As I grew up I learned to counterbalance the initial stares I received from people with an outgoing personality that would not give into 'no,'" Kelly wrote on the pageant site. "This means that I tried everything. From baseball, to dance, to diving—there's nothing I would not try. I found my passion within a world where I was giving people permission to stare: the stage."

    According to Kelly's biography, she's currently studying directing and theater management at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She hopes to work on

    Read More »from Newly crowned Miss Iowa hopes to advocate for people with disabilities
  • Seniors from Abraham Lincoln High School pose for photos (MKG)After months of hardship, the seniors of Coney Island’s storm-ravaged Abraham Lincoln High School got the party of a lifetime: a senior prom they never expected.

    On Thursday night, more than 150 prom-goers walked down an ice-blue carpet illuminated by flashing lights into the historic Vanderbilt house on Staten Island. The foyer of the oceanfront ballroom housed an ice castle almost three feet tall, and the tables were immaculately decorated with gorgeous wintry centerpieces. It was a night students had looked forward to for months but thought might not happen.

    Last October, Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed this school in the heart of New York City’s famed beach community. Students, many of whom were displaced by the storm, returned to class over a week after the rains had stopped to find the school’s athletic fields and basement flooded and many of of its facilities severely damaged.

    The greatest tragedy, though, was the loss of beloved science teacher Henry Sullivan, who drowned in

    Read More »from Sandy-ravaged high school gets gift of a senior prom


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