6. Good thing he listened to mom
> Date: Feb. 2
> Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Roberto Mendoza, who used to prepare meals for presidents in the White House, now oversees a restaurant and serves food to the homeless in Charlotte, North Carolina. Recently his mother visited him from Guatemala. She told her son she had a lucky feeling and advised him to buy a lottery ticket. Mendoza typically doesn’t participate in the lottery, but he listened to his mother and bought a ticket. He won $250,000 and plans to use the winnings to complete construction of a kitchen that will feed the homeless in the Dominican Republic.
7. Seal of approval
> Date: Feb. 2
> Location: Drake Beach, California
During the recent partial government shutdown there were not as many park rangers to patrol beach and park areas such as Drake Beach at Point Reyes national seashore, about 30 miles north of San Francisco. With fewer humans around, elephant seals swarmed over the beach and at times occupied the parking lot and picnic areas. The shutdown coincided with the nesting season of the seals, which were nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century. With the shutdown over, the park service has closed the beaches until April, when the seals are expected to leave the beach.
8. Fasting to help in-debt students
> Date: Feb. 3
> Location: Alexandria, Virginia
To raise money, members of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, fasted during the month of January by giving up using social media, eating junk food, or drinking alcohol. The money was raised to help pay down the debt of 34 students planning to graduate Howard University in Washington, D.C. They raised more than $100,000. The church has asked members of its congregation for the last several years to participate in a fast to help college students pay student loan debt.
9. Tyler makes dreams come true
> Date: Feb. 4
> Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Janie’s Fund, a foundation started by Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, contributed $500,000 toward the establishment of Janie’s House, a facility in Memphis, Tennessee, for girls who have been abused or neglected. The foundation was created to raise awareness of abuse of children and to provide medical and therapeutic care and other services to help them overcome their trauma. The facility can accommodate up to 30 girls between ages 12 and 18. The goal is to reunite them with their families or find them a stable home. The house and foundation name come from Aerosmith’s song “Janie’s Got a Gun” about a girl abused by her father.
10. Vacuuming ocean’s garbage
> Date: February
> Location: Oceans
Two Australian surfers have come up with a solution to clean up the world’s oceans. They’ve developed a floating vacuum cleaner called a seabin that operates near marinas and docks and moves with the tide to collect floating garbage. Water is sucked into a bag with a pump that is connected to an outlet and the water is pumped back out trapping the garbage in a bag. The surfers raised $250,000 to create their device on their Indiegogo page to finance manufacturing.