Restore your connection to humanity with this list of hopeful things!

It’s easy to turn on the news and feel anything but hopeful these days.

With the coronavirus crisis still in full swing, it might seem that despair abounds both online and on the television. But for every grim statistic or distressing story, there are countless examples of humanity emerging during this time.

Today, we’re taking a look at 10 hopeful things to fill your heart and remind you that we will all get through this together.

1. Free Books for Kids

Audible usually costs $14.95 per month, but the audiobook platform is changing its policy for now. They’re now offering select children’s books completely free, all available here.

Users can listen to the titles in six different languages, with options for every age, from preschoolers to teenagers. Their simple, heartwarming motto? “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open.”

2. Celebrity Couch Concerts

Musicians around the world are looking for ways to give back and bring a little joy to their listeners. Many of them are using social media, including Facebook Live and Instagram Live, to film and share in-house concerts.

This list details how to access many of the top ones. Who knew you could have a front-row seat to an intimate Coldplay performance, right in your living room? If you’re a country music lover, check out these 10 best moments from the recent “Our Country” home concert broadcast.

3. Astronauts Reading from Space

Talk about a storytime that’s out of this world!

Story Time from Space is a program delivered through the Global Space Education Foundation. With an innovative mission, the nonprofit sends children’s books to the International Space Station for astronauts to read in space!

Though the program isn’t exactly new, it’s gaining an entirely new following as millions of students around the country are home from school. Check it out here and try not to smile.

4. Online School Performances

What about all of the high school theater students who practiced for months for their spring performance? Or the tiny dancers gearing up for their recitals?

With these shows now canceled, a few celebrities reached out and offered to serve as a very special, virtual audience of one.

Using hashtags, actress Jennifer Garner, along with Broadway stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Laura Benanti, took to Instagram and invited students to showcase their work on social media. Jennifer’s hashtag is #heyjenlookatme, while Miranda and Benanti teamed up with #SunshineSongs.

5. A Daily Shout of Gratitude

At 7:00 p.m. every night, New Yorkers come to their balconies, stoops, and sidewalks and ring out in collective praise for the healthcare workers and other essential employees in their city serving on the front lines of this crisis.

Some clap wildly, others hoot and holler, and some even play instruments or bang pots and pans. The movement originated on social media with the hashtag #ClapBecauseWeCare and has since spread to other cities, states, and countries. In Istanbul, Turkey, for instance, residents cheer nightly at 9:00 p.m.

6. Schools Delivering Free Meals

Some of the hardest-hit people during the COVID-19 shutdown are the students who relied on school-funded meal programs to meet their daily nutritional needs.

To make sure these children don’t go without, schools across the country are keeping their cafeterias open. Some districts are creating and delivering food to them directly, while others are offering on-site pickup or drive-through meal services.

In collaboration with the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Austin Independent School District (ISD) is offering curbside meals for students 19 and under at 14 different locations around the city.

7. Athletes Helping Arena Workers

When the NBA, NHL, and MLS suspended their operations in response to COVID-19 concerns, arena workers across the country, most of whom were paid hourly, immediately felt the financial impact.

That’s when some superstars stepped in to make a difference. Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban is continuing to pay hourly workers at his American Airlines Center. Likewise, Professional NBA player Kevin Love donated $100,000 to help support workers at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Zion Williamson, a rookie with the New Orleans Pelicans, has also joined in by vowing to pay the salaries of arena employees at his team’s Smoothie King Center.

Even with games canceled and seasons postponed, there are plenty of hopeful things still happening.

8. Restaurant Patrons Paying It Forward

As many states impose bans on in-person dining, restaurants around the country are forced to shut down temporarily or switch to a take-out-only model.

This has encouraged many patrons to express extreme generosity and gratitude toward their favorite establishments. At Houston’s Irma’s Southwest, one regular, who had dined there for 15 years, left a $9,400 tip on a $90.12 bill, with a note that read “Hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks.”

A similar instance occurred at Coach’s Bar and Grill in Columbus, Ohio, where an anonymous visitor stayed until one hour before mandatory closures were enacted, leaving a $2,500 tip on a $29.75 tab.

9. Quarantine Singalongs

These two words didn’t go together just a few short weeks ago, but now, they’re one of the most beautiful things we’ve seen lately.

Some of the first singalongs happened in Italy, where neighborhood residents threw open their windows to sing their country’s national anthem together. In other parts of the country, they united to belt out classics, including “Volare,” “Bella Ciao,” and others.

The idea quickly made its way to the States, where neighbors in cities like Dallas and Chicago have held similar singalongs from their apartment windows. At Dallas’ South Side on Lamar complex, tenor Danzel Barber led a stirring group rendition of “Lean On Me.”

In Chicago, self-isolating residents across the city have banded together twice to hold collective concerts, led by local radio station The Drive. Flashing their lights in solidarity, participants sang “Livin’ on a Prayer” on March 21, followed by two Queen classics, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” on March 27.

10. Gyms Offering At-Home Workouts

Leaders in the fitness space know how important regular workouts are for our physical, mental, and emotional health. In response, many industry giants are offering free, at-home workouts you can stream from the comfort of your home.

A few of our favorite options include:

  • Life Time Fitness: Free workout classes on demand every Thursday
  • Gold’s Gym: Free digital workouts through May 31
  • OrangeTheory: New 30-minute workout online every day
  • Planet Fitness: Live-streamed “Work-Ins” every day at 7:00 p.m.
  • Peloton: Free 90-day app access featuring biking, yoga, cardio, and strength training exercises

Cue one up, break a sweat, and regain a little inner calm. (Bonus: You’ll boost your immune system against all kinds of bacteria and viruses.)

Let these hopeful things inspire, encourage, and comfort you.

We’re all living through an unprecedented, historic time, so it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s happening around you. We hope these stories of beautiful, hopeful things can help bring a little peace and comfort during this trying season.

We’re here for you now and always. Contact us if you need to connect.

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