A Look Back: Positive Highlights of 2021

A Look Back at Some Positive Highlights of 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, we should be looking back at all of the beautiful and inspiring people and events that have taken place. The following is a compilation of random amazing things that helped shape the year in a positive way. 

Acts of Kindness: Events That Made a Difference

1.) Cancer is a scary word for any person, especially a child. One brave girl named Ever Young, is 5 years old.  Her dream was to be an Airforce Pilot, but her cancer had different plans for her future. 

The team at MacDill Air Force Base and the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation joined forces to make this little girl's dreams come true. She was given her very own flight suit and was able to learn some skills in a flight simulator before she experienced the real thing. She became an official honorary Air Force pilot in February.

2.) Laza Katanic Worked at United Airlines for years. He was killed in a car accident in late 2019 near his home in California. His two sons, under the age of seven, were devastated. In late 2020, his co-workers decided to do something special for his children. They took pieces of his old work clothes and stitched together teddy bears. Each stuffed animal had a picture of Laza in its pocket.  Adding a special touch to these bears, their fathers cologne was sprayed on them and the logo of the airline where he worked was sewn onto the teddy bear’s uniforms. This was a special present for his children in 2021. What an amazing act of kindness! 

Inspirational People of 2021

There are a few people who stand out in 2021 with their inspiring personalities and efforts to help positively shape worldviews. 

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis icon. She became one of the most inspirational personalities of 2021 for amazing success in her profession, but also for raising awareness about mental health. 

  • In 2021 she won the Australian Open 
  • In May 2021 she decided not to participate in a much anticipated post-match press conference at the French Open, citing mental health reasons as being responsible for her decision. 
  • She chose not to compete at Wimbledon, openly making the choice to prioritize her mental and emotional need to be with her family ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Naomi is normalizing mental health publicly and showing people that prioritizing personal needs is healthy.

Neffiteria Acker, a fourth-grade educator, is teaching students to say positive affirmations in the mirror each day.  The viral video gained national attention in August 2021. Students are seen lining up, then saying affirmations like: 

  • "I am smart." 
  • "I am a good person."
  • "I am strong and independent."

This teacher is including positive thinking in her classroom, and getting the children to develop a habit of being kind to themselves. Way to shape our youth!

Ed Harmon is a 72 year old Vietnam veteran in Maine who gave back to other veterans who were struggling with homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. He utilized cargo trailers as temporary housing for military veterans who were experiencing difficulty with the process of finding a permanent home. He has been retrofitting trailers into comfortable living spaces. The project is called, “Veterans Emergency Temporary Shelter”, or VETS.

The units include:

  • a one-room living space
  • a bed
  • a microwave 
  • a refrigerator

This provides a safe and secure temporary home for veterans. They are able to stay as long as they need to find a more suitable residence. What a great idea to not only help those in need but also spread awareness and encourage others to contribute to positively changing lives in a way that is special to them.

Xueli Abbing was abandoned as a newborn baby. She was left on the steps of an orphanage. Why? Because it was clear that she was albino. Albinism is seen by some in China as a curse. She may have had struggles growing up but this teenager refused to let her condition stop her from doing incredible things. Adopted by a family in the Netherlands when she was three, Xueli inspires others to embrace what makes them different. She uses her condition as a strength in fashion and in life. Today she is an international model who has appeared in Vogue and countless renowned publications! 

Dance teacher Emily Jenkins, created a dance class for women who have been shaken to the core by a cancer diagnosis, the debilitating effects of cancer treatment, and the recovery process. Jenkins’ “Move Dance Feel” classes have proven to help women by using the soothing art of dance and the connection it promotes with other cancer fighters. The feeling of creating beautiful movements and becoming energized physically and mentally has helped these women through their difficult battle.

So, there you have it, 2021 was a tremendous year! As we say goodbye, let's reflect on all of the positive moments and people that have inspired the world to be better, and let’s keep Conquering Life with kindness, love, and vulnerability.  

Wishing all of you an amazing 2022!

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