It was the iconic Fred Rogers that told us, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
At Good Good Good, we’ve made that the foundation of our work — to know that even in times of extreme hardship, there are always people looking to do good in the world, people ready to receive the good, and most of us at the intersection of taking action.
This past year has been another “unprecedented” year (ugh), full of overwhelming challenges and large-scale catastrophes. But what keeps us moving forward, what keeps us afloat amidst so many unknowns, is the potential to respond, problem-solve, and care for one another.
2022 ushered in violence and fear — threats to healthcare (the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade), ongoing climate change (climate disasters rocked areas across the globe), political unrest (Russia invaded Ukraine and continues to inflict unrivaled human rights violations) — and so much more.
But in these heartbreaking moments, we cling to hope. We must.
From entertainers using their platforms to help others, and protesters and activists fundraising and speaking out to change the future, to community members providing necessities to their neighbors at war, or leaders fighting to end gun violence — this issue celebrates just a tiny amount of the work at the center of it all.
What we love most about sharing and celebrating good news is that it’s messy and real; it’s full of hope, failure, triumph, and resilience. It helps us step into a new day with the unwavering belief that things do get better.
And it’s helpers like these that solidify this hope. As we step into another year navigating these unparalleled trials — and the enduring humanity that accompanies them — we look to them.
Every year we highlight helpers in a number of categories — and this year we’ve chosen these categories:
- Education Helpers
- LGBTQ+ Helpers
- Art & Media Helpers
- Healthcare Helpers
- Ukraine Helpers
- Gun Safety Helpers
- Climate Helpers
- Equality and Justice Helpers
- Community Helpers
In this post, we’re highlighting Education Helpers and simple ways to make a difference:
Education Helpers To Know —
Quinta Brunson is a writer, producer, actress, and comedian. You might recognize her from the breakout ABC comedy “Abbott Elementary,” in which she’s the creator, executive producer, writer, and star.
The series — inspired by her mother’s teaching career at an under-resourced elementary school — earned three Emmy nominations making her: the first Black woman in TV history nominated in three comedy categories in the same year, the youngest Black woman ever nominated in the comedy acting category, and the second Black woman to win the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category.
Brunson most recently used her platform at the annual TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2022 gala to call out politicians and advocate for higher teacher salaries.
“I play a teacher on TV, but every day I wonder if I’d be strong enough to be the one in real life,” Brunson said in her toast.
She’s since dedicated a portion of the show's marketing budget to helping underfunded teachers.
Carey Arensberg (@mrsarensberg4th on TikTok) is a fifth-grade teacher from Mobile, Alabama.
She’s known around her community and online for her “Care Closet,” a resource available to students who are in need of essential items like dinner boxes, hygienic products, and extra uniforms — even if it’s for another sibling or family member.
“It has helped build such a strong sense of trust and community,” Arensberg shared on TikTok. “Students are able to have their physiological needs met, which allows them to relax and focus on their schoolwork instead of what they may be lacking.”
Her sweet, compassionate videos have inspired so many others to start and maintain their own classroom Care Closets. Arensberg — a certified trauma and resilience practitioner — also focuses on providing her over 400,000 followers with social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.
Sharon McMahon (also known as @sharonsaysso), is a former high school government and law teacher who rose to prominence in 2020. Her community, the “Governerds,” has raised funds for teachers, neighbors, and organizations, as well as built a coalition of individuals who value McMahon’s dedication to sharing non-partisan facts about the U.S. government and democracy.
While McMahon had previously created a successful teacher grant program that raised more than $560,000 — she later set a more ambitious goal for her July 2022 campaign: $1 million.
Within just one weekend, the Governerd community raised $1.1 million — and continued to raise more funds over the next week.
The funds went directly to teachers from every corner of the U.S. in the form of over 2,000 grants, each worth $500, with no stipulations on how the funds were used.
4 Ways To Support Your Local Schools:
- Learn more about childhood hunger in America. Listen to “Rethinking Hunger,” a podcast from the New Mexico Out of School Time Network, which provides thoughtful insights and discussions in the fight for a better food system. nmost.org/podcast
- Donate school supplies. Whether in-person or through an online Amazon Wishlist, donating school supplies is a great way to help our educators and students thrive in and out of the classroom.
- So many benefits are tied to mentorship — for both the mentee and the mentor. Visit the National Mentoring Resource Center for mentoring tools, programs, and training materials to help get you started. nationalmentoringresourcecenter.org
- Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week every year — whether you have school-aged children or not. Check out our entire guide on ideas for celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.