It’s time to ‘Shine a Light’ on good news … and please share your examples

We all could use a little good news.

Finding and telling it used to be my job.

Fresh out of college, I found work for the community newspapers of The Dallas Morning News: small weekly publications covering Dallas neighborhoods and suburbs.  My dreams of taking down big corporations with the help of mysterious sources (see: “All the King’s Men”) quickly vanished as I settled down to telling small-town news. There were women’s club meetings, National Merit scholars and high school football games to cover. And then, I began to dream a new dream.

Working for those small papers, telling “small” stories, I began to see how journalism can be used as a tool, not only to tear down the bad (once again, see: “All the King’s Men”), but also to build up what is good.

My coworkers and I wrote about the work area nonprofits were doing and how our readers could get involved. We listed the achievements of high school athletes for their parents and grandparents to read. We covered things like a church’s 100th anniversary, did a series on organ donors and recipients. A profile of an aging war hero inspired his town to honor him with a mayoral decree shortly before his death.

Over and over, my fellow staffers and I heard reports of how what we were doing was building connections … turning towns into communities, neighbors into friends.

Despite these and other successes, The Dallas Morning News shut down those papers in 2016. I think they made a mistake.

I think “small” stories of good news are precious … and they are something the world needs, especially now. So much of the media’s time is given to covering issues that divide us … we need to hear and to pass on stories of people coming together. We need to celebrate those who are doing good things, not only to encourage them, but to show others who wish to make a difference that they are not alone.

With that in mind, I hope to start a regular column called “Shining a Light” made up of “good news” … short updates about people making a difference or about ways you can make a difference yourself. And I need your help.

If you know a piece of news of this kind … no matter how small … please share it with us. You can comment on our Facebook page or email me at ruth.haesemeyer@gmail.com. For examples, check out the first Shining a Light stories following.  

We all could use a little good news.

Community supports nonprofit TOVA Coffeeshop after robbery

An area break-in has, fittingly, turned into an opportunity to “do something good.”

Lubbock’s TOVA Coffeehouse, a nonprofit that aims to fight area poverty, was robbed of more than $1,000 on recently. But the word TOVA means “to do or make something good,” and since the break-in, people have done just that.

“The community has really rallied behind us,” said general manager Jonathan Wynne.

TOVA Coffeehouse was one of several area businesses hit by robbers, Wynne said. That same day, people began making donations to help the nonprofit regain the stolen funds. Since then, the coffee shop has been buzzing, doing record sales. Stories about the coffee shop have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. Wynne said the community has restored the lost money and more.

“It’s really amazing how God has turned this seemingly evil act into an opportunity for good,” he said.

For more information, visit facebook.com/tovacoffeehouse or tovacoffeehouse.org.

Churches, volunteers give special needs community night in spotlight

More than 200 of our area’s most special residents spent a night in the spotlight a few weeks ago at the third-annual Lubbock Night to Shine.

The event, one of more than 600 held worldwide through the Tim Tebow Foundation, was an evening of celebrity treatment, dancing, dining and karaoke singing for members of the  Lubbock-area special needs community.

“It’s to make them feel loved, and known, and seen and just extra special for the night,” said Jordan Kuss, Lubbock Night To Shine volunteer coordinator, who has watched the Lubbock event grow each year since she helped start it in 2016. This year, area churches, including The Springs Fellowship Church, Church on the Rock and Calvary Baptist Church and 355 volunteers joined to produce the prom-like experience for 211 guests.

“The whole purpose is just to show them the love of Jesus and just to show them that they are kings and queens in God’s kingdom,” Kuss said.
For information about Lubbock Night to Shine and the 2020 event, visit facebook.com/nighttoshinelbk.

High tea will raise funds for Women’s Protective Services

A “Mad Hatter Tea Party,” benefiting Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock, will be presented from 2 to 4 p.m. March 16 at the Lubbock Women’s Club, 2020 Broadway in Lubbock.

The event will include high tea, an Easter style show and a silent auction. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased by March 13.

For tickets or more information, contact Sherry Blankenship at 806-441-1196.