The Lists

October’s Sparklers: Those Who Choose to Shine

Sparklers is a monthly series at Dandelion Chandelier designed to highlight people, groups and institutions who have recently spread light in the world, even in the midst of great darkness. Every day, people choose to shine in ways large and small. These moments of grace and generosity don’t always get reported on, and unfortunately they can be quickly forgotten. So we’re sharing some of these stories. Because sometimes good news and kindness are the sweetest luxuries of all.

Today is National Act of Kindness Day, so it’s a particularly apt time to showcase some Sparklers who caught our attention in recent weeks:

In the town of Chappaqua in Westchester County New York, this month, signs began popping up alongside the roads and in some shop windows. Each one carried a brief message of optimism and hope. Like Today is Full of Possibilities. Be Kind to Yourself, Be Kind to Others. Smile if You Love Someone. These simple messages were noticeable for their cheerfulness, so we stopped to investigate further. We learned that local business owner, Evy Rosen, had launched the campaign, called “AOK – Acts of Kindness Chappaqua” in order to encourage generous actions. In a brief conversation with her, we learned that kindness is not just good for others – it’s actually good for our own health. Kind acts reduce stress, promote positive thinking and improve overall health for the recipient, the giver and even someone who just observes the act.

New York City Principal Dancer Lauren Lovette is also a choreographer. Her latest ballet, Not Our Fate, made its debut at a black-tie fall gala at Lincoln Center a few weeks ago.  The work features a touching love story and a tender pas de deux between two couples of the same gender. At the curtain call, every female dancer was given an outsized bouquet of red roses as the audience applauded wildly. The two male partners – Taylor Stanley and Preston Chamblee – stood with empty arms while the final bouquet was presented to Lovette. Without missing a beat, seemingly without thinking about it at all, she immediately walked over and presented the bouquet to the two men. The crowd cheered and hooted, and in that moment we saw what a generous spirit she has, how powerful a simple gesture of inclusion can be, and how acts like this help make the world a fairer place.

Sometimes a Sparkler literally sparkles: High jewelry maison Chopard has partnered with Eco-Age to continue its “Journey to Sustainable Luxury” with its Green Carpet jewelry collection, made with Fairmined gold. Working with South America’s Alliance for Responsible Mining, Chopard is the world’s first luxury jewelry house directly enabling mines to achieve Fairmined certification.

“Minnesota Nice” is really a Thing. Harvey Djerf, 95, walks about a mile around his neighborhood in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth two times a day – with a little help from his neighbors. The World War II veteran uses two walking sticks, and understandably sometimes gets fatigued. So his neighbors have set out chairs on their front lawns so that he can sit and chat along the way. He’s greeted daily by kids, parents and grandparents, and they say that seeing Harvey out and about inspires them to get outdoors and walk as well.

The Orionid Meteor Shower on Friday, October 20 brought out sparklers of all kinds. Public parks and ball fields stayed open all night so that star gazers could gather to view the meteor shower, which reached its peak early Saturday morning. Websites helpfully explained that the Orionid meteor shower was one of two created by debris from Comet Halley – its name comes from the belief that the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.

Mezcal Amarás, owned by the Anchor Distilling Company in San Francisco, is committed to using locally farmed ingredients and no additives in its products. The company is also giving fifteen percent of the brand’s gross profit back to local communities in Mexico.

There have been so many fundraisers to help those who were victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria; of the recent earthquakes in Mexico; and of the wildfires in northern California that it is impossible to list them all. There are many more coming in the next few weeks, so it’s not too late to take part. Some are creative and whimsical, some quite traditional – all are being fueled by compassion and empathy, and we salute everyone who is participating in these life-saving and soul-restoring events.

Finally, we want to pay special tribute to every person – first responders, military service members, local and Federal law enforcement, friends, family members, neighbors, Good Samaritans, religious and community leaders, political and business leaders and citizens around the world – to everyone who has reached out a hand to help those in need in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. This month has been a time of anguish for many. Those who risked their lives – who reached out a hand, made a contribution, organized relief efforts, and spoke for those unable to speak for themselves – are shining a light in the deepest darkness, and inspiring all of us to do the same.

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