03:57 - Source: CNN
This aquarium's adult sea otters help raise rescued pups
CNN —  

Welcome to prime TV watching season! Not only are most of your favorite shows back on, but we’ve also entered that magical time of the year when football, baseball and hockey all overlap. There’s something for everyone! (Even if that something is watching your baseball team disappoint you in the playoffs…again.) Some people may think watching TV is a waste of time, but I say time spent with people you love is never time wasted. And hey, even if your team loses or that show you love takes an unsatisfying turn, at least you’ll have someone to commiserate with.

Our favorites this week

Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week

Courtesy of Rancho Cucamonga Fire District

Baby fever!

Remember all those cute stories of nurses who all got pregnant and had babies around the same time? Well here’s a novel twist: Firefighters! Nine firefighters at the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District in California all welcomed sons and daughters into the world around the same time, between March and July (They SWEAR it was a total coincidence). Of course, such a blessed event deserves a seriously adorable photo shoot. Luckily, the dads were more than happy to oblige.

Courtesy of Rancho Cucamonga Fire District

One of the moms in this big happy firefighting family told CNN she’s excited her children will have so many built-in friends to play with as they grow up.

Randy Wilder/© Monterey Bay Aquarium

Otterly sweet

Can otters be role models? These little ladies come pretty close. Rosa and Selka act as foster moms to abandoned sea otter pups at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. The aquarium has a one-of-a-kind program that aims to teach young otters the skills they need to be returned to the wild. Rosa and Selka, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to survive if they were released and have never had pups of their own. Instead, they teach rescued pups how to thrive and become fully effective adult otters. How does one become a fully effective otter? Well, you need to know how to eat crabs, crack open clams and mussels, interact with other otters and imprint on reliable otter superiors. It also means avoiding close human bonds, which is why foster otter moms like Rosa and Selka are doubly important. Since the program began in 2001, the aquarium has raised and released 100 juvenile pups back into the wild, many under Rosa and Selka’s careful tutelage.

Jefferson County Public Schools

A view from the top

Ryan King, a fourth-grader at Tully Elementary School near Louisville, Kentucky, really, REALLY wanted to go on her class field trip to the Falls of The Ohio State Park. Ryan has spina bifida, so she gets around in a wheelchair. In the past, that’s made field trips hard, but as the state park field trip approached, Ryan’s mom, Shelly King, didn’t want her to miss out. She bought a special backpack and planned to carry Ryan along the park’s trail herself, but one of the teachers at Ryan’s school, Jim Freeman, offered to carry her instead. King says the children in class loved having Ryan be a part of their day. “We’re blessed at our school — the kids there are so compassionate and understanding,” King said.

Now, I’ve been thinking about this story a lot. It’s obviously sweet, but a few disability advocates pointed out on social media that it would have been nicer if someone at the school had organized a way for Ryan to participate or considered a more accessible trip so she wouldn’t have to worry about missing out in the first place. I think there’s a lot of validity to that, and it just underscores how important it is to be kind and compassionate to people one-on-one, especially when the odds are stacked against them. You may make a bigger difference than you think.

Raise a glass to…


A group of 19 recent graduates from the New York City Fire Department academy. These new probationary firefighters are carrying on a solemn legacy: All of their fathers were firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 or died of 9/11-related illnesses. Two more of the 301 new FDNY graduates also lost their fathers in the line of duty. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro presided over the ceremony and summed up the deep significance of their achievements. “Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children dreaming of the careers their fathers loved, and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department,” he said. “Today, they have fully achieved their dreams.”

You gotta see this

Christina Koch/NASA/AP

Everyone needs a friend like NASA astronaut Christina Koch. Looking out from aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Koch managed to snap this incredible photo of her best friend’s dream of spaceflight coming true. The photo shows the spacecraft Soyuz MS-15 going through its second trajectory of liftoff on its way to the ISS. On board is Koch’s best friend and Soyuz crew member, NASA flight engineer Jessica Meir, entering the final frontier for the first time. Yeah, this is definitely one for the scrapbook.

Heroes among us

According to FDA estimates, the United States wastes 30 to 40% of its food. For 29 years the people at Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit in Detroit, have been doing their best to battle back against that statistic. Forgotten Harvest rescues food destined for landfills and redirects it to the hungry — about 130,000 pounds of food a day, to be exact. The logistics are something to behold: Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes says 27 trucks make 12 to 14 different stops a day to pick up donations, and the whole process is manned by about 16,000 volunteers. “We’re all working towards our one mission,” Mayes says. “To make sure that we can rescue as much food as possible and get it into the hands of people in need.”

Who knew?

portishead1/E+/Getty Images

Did you know that being an optimist is good for your health? According to a new meta-analysis of 300,000 people, those who look at life from a positive perspective have a much stronger shot at avoiding death from heart attacks, stroke and other major medical events. Why? Dr. Alan Rozanski, the author of the study, says optimists tend to have better health habits, like exercising and eating well. They also tend to have better coping and problem-solving skills when things get hairy. However, remember not to confuse optimism with happiness, Rozanski says. “Happiness is an emotion. It’s transient,” he says. “[Optimism is] how you look at the world.”

Impact your world

courtesy Ryan Schain/Cornell University

Bird lovers, assemble! Our feathered brethren really need your help. An alarming study recently found that the United States and Canada have lost almost a third of their bird population since 1970. The biggest culprits of this culling? Habitat loss, collisions with glass, hunting by domestic cats and pesticides. However, there are things you can do to make your corner of the world a more wing-welcoming place:

  • Prevent window collisions by installing decals or bird-friendly glass
  • Keep cats indoors — their avian appetites are a real problem!
  • Make your yard a bird paradise by planting native shrubs, preserving exposed limbs and avoiding pesticides.

CNN’s Impact Your World has even more bird-saving tips here.

Shameless animal video

There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.

This is Tiny Tim, a miniature donkey with a gigantic internet following. (Because, well, LOOK at him.) I probably had you at “miniature donkey,” so let’s stop talking and just enjoy Tiny Tim putting himself to bed. (Click here to view)