Blog Posts by Jennifer Carofano, Shine Staff

  • Son’s ‘I Liked You Better Deaf’ Video Will Make Your Day

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    When Danny Hamilton wrote a charming, funny song for his dad, called "I Liked You Better Deaf," he didn't expect that hundreds of thousands of people would listen in, too. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Toronto surprised his father with a performance of the song on Christmas day and then posted his original tune on YouTube, where it has racked up more than 800,000 views in less than 48 hours.

    “The sheer volume of the comments has been shocking,” Danny told Yahoo Shine, noting that his brother, Thompson, posted the video on Reddit. “I was also surprised at the number of people who commented saying they had been through similar situations. I guess I didn’t realize I was doing relatable comedy.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: Little Girl Does Beautiful Thing for Deaf Parents

    The song, said Danny, was inspired by his dad’s new hearing aids. “After he got the hearing aids, he was always telling us to stop shouting at him, and on more than one occasion he asked me to turn down the

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  • Santa Helps Homeless Couple Get Hitched For The Holidays

    Virginia Howell (center), Allan Darnell (aka Santa) and the newlyweds. Photo courtesy of Virginia Howell.Santa delivered in a big way. He and a kindhearted chaplain helped a young homeless couple tie the knot in an impromptu outdoor wedding, just in time for Christmas.

    Chaplain Virginia Howell, a volunteer with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in Houston, and her colleague, Allan Darnell, who was dressed as Santa Claus, were on their way to spread good cheer to fellow employees last week. They came across a young couple with an 8-month-old baby who asked if “Santa” would be willing to take a photo with their daughter. Darnell agreed and discovered that they were looking for someone who could legally marry them. The couple had just picked up their marriage license, but could not afford the $40 fee to have a wedding ceremony.

    “They were sweet and captured my heart,” Howell told Yahoo Shine. “I wanted to help them.” The chaplain has been able to legally perform weddings for two years but had not yet married anyone. Despite her lack of experience, she offered to perform the ceremony

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  • Adopt-a-Trucker Program Making the Road a Little Merrier This Holiday

    Meals for 18 Wheels delivers holiday dinners to truckers on the road. Photo courtesy of Corbis.Though most of us have a lot of things on our minds over the holidays, what truckers are eating for dinner probably isn't one of them. An organization called Meals for 18 Wheels is hoping to change that, and make Christmas a little merrier for truck drivers who will be away from home for the holidays.

    The group's concept – to encourage people to "adopt a trucker" and deliver him or her a meal on the road – is the brainchild of Kari Fisher, who is also the CEO of Missing Truck Driver Alert Network, an organization that helps locate truck drivers who have fallen off the radar. According to Fisher, on the day before Thanksgiving this year, she received a post on the Missing Driver Alert Network Facebook page from a driver who was lamenting the fact that he wasn't going to get a home-cooked meal for the holiday. Fisher realized that other drivers were probably feeling the same way, so she posted a call out to drivers who would be interested in receiving meals — and volunteers who could

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  • Guy Creates Video Game to Help Him Pop the Question

    Angel White and Robert Fink. Photo courtesy of Angel White.It’s the stuff that gamer dreams are made of. Boy meets girl. Girl loves to play video games as much as he does. They become friends, sharing their passion for gaming and stories of childhoods spent with joysticks in hand. Boy eventually gets girl. Two and a half years later, he pops the question, gamer style, by designing a video game to propose to his girlfriend and catching her tear-jerking reaction on video.

    “The most challenging part of building the game was keeping it a secret,” Robert Fink, 24, a 3D artist from Portland, Oregon, tells Yahoo Shine, adding that he had been telling his girlfriend, Angel White, 24, that he was working late at the office, to cover for the fact that he was actually at a friend’s house designing the game. All told, the project took five months to create from start to finish. When it came time to execute on the plan, Fink, who works at SuperGenius, an art and animation support studio for video game developers that's based in Oregon City, Oregon, asked

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  • Being in the Hospital on Christmas Stinks. 10-Year-Old Makes It Better With Toys

    Casey Abrams (center). Photo courtesy of Ashley Dinielli/UCLA.Casey Abrams knows firsthand the bummer of being in the hospital for Christmas. The 10-year-old from Moorpark, California, has a chronic condition that requires frequent medical attention and, after he wound up spending the holiday in the hospital a few years back, he decided to try to make Christmas a little brighter for other kids in his situation. Just 6 years old at the time, Casey organized a toy drive, which is now in its fourth year and going strong. On Tuesday, Casey delivered $500 and more than 600 toys to Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Los Angeles.

    “The best part is that I know all the kids are going to be happy, and it’s really fun.” Casey tells Yahoo Shine. “I wanted to do a toy drive because when I was in the hospital for Christmas, I realized how all the other kids felt not having toys or being able to be at home for Christmas.”

    Casey suffers from chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a rare condition that affects his stomach and intestines. According to Casey’s mom,

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  • Deaf Father Hears Daughter’s Voice for First Time

    This year, Ashley Stehle gave her dad a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas gift. The 15-year-old high school freshman from St. Louis serenaded her father, Ken Stehle, at her school Christmas concert and — for the first time ever — Stehle heard his daughter’s voice. 

    "It was awesome to hear her beautiful voice,” 49-year-old Ken Stehle, who has been deaf since birth, tells Yahoo Shine. Just days before the concert at Villa Duchesne, the Catholic school his daughter attends, Stehle was fitted with a new hearing aid that works wirelessly with a small microphone. At the concert, Ashley wore the microphone on her dress, which then sent the sound of her voice to a receiver around her dad’s neck that connects directly to his hearing aid.

    “We didn’t know if this hearing aid would work, which is why I was very nervous for the concert,” Ashley, whose mother is also deaf, tells Yahoo Shine. “He didn’t know exactly what I was saying because he has never heard the words before, which is why I signed some

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  • Flash Mob Pays Surprise Tribute to Mandela in South African Mart

    The late Nelson Mandela received a touching honor in the unlikeliest of places this week—the produce section of a South African supermarket. At a Woolworths in Johannesburg, a flash mob unexpectedly serenaded customers with an a capella rendition of “Asimbonanga” (We have not seen him) by South African singer, songwriter and musical activist, Johnny Clegg. Posted on December 9, the video has more than one million views on YouTube and is just starting to make the rounds in the U.S.

    The singers, dressed inconspicuously as Woolworths’ personnel and customers, are members of the Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir. Founded in 2002 to celebrate the inspirational power of African gospel music, the group culls its singers from church choirs in and around Soweto, an urban area of Johannesburg. The vocalists have performed for Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey and have recorded songs with artists as varied as Robert Plant, Celine Dion, Peter Gabriel and U2. The choir is also an ambassador for

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  • Magician Gives Back With Trick That Turns Coffee Into Cash for Homeless

    A magician who's made a name for himself pranking the unsuspecting is changing his tune this holiday season, turning a magic trick into an act of generosity. The latest video from Rahat Hossain, dubbed “Coffee to Coins for the Homeless,” shows the 25-year-old magician approaching homeless people on the street and offering them a cup of coffee. He then announces he can transform the cup of coffee into a cup of actual money and, by simply shaking the cup back and forth, he does just that — much to the surprise of the group standing in front of him. Posted Monday to Hossian’s YouTube channel, MagicofRahat, the video has already surpassed 430,000 views.

    “My favorite part of being a magician is the reaction I get from people,” Hossain tells Yahoo Shine. “I’ve been using magic to prank people, and I want to use magic to help people.”
    It took Hossain, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, two months to master the trick and, earlier this month, he decided to put it to good use on the street

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  • U.S. Air Force Band Wows Crowd With Most Civilized Flash Mob Ever

    Military bands aren’t often considered cutting-edge. But the United States Air Force Band has officially gone viral with its first-ever flash mob. Last week, 120 Air Force musicians came together at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., surprising more than 400 museum guests with an impromptu performance. The resulting video — which was shot and edited by band members — has received more than 1 million views on YouTube as of Tuesday. 

    “We were hoping for 100,000 hits,” Col. Larry Lang, commander and conductor of The United States Air Force Band tells Yahoo Shine, noting that he is surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response from around the world.

    The challenge with the mob format was building the music from a single instrument to 120, says Lang. The score — which included original treatments of two pieces, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Joy to the World”— took two months to write and the musicians received the final pieces to memorize

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  • Why This Woman Wants to Rent a Family on Craigslist for the Holidays

    Jackie Turner turned to Craigslist for a family. (Photo provided by Jackie Turner)Craigslist can be a great place to find a new apartment or a secondhand bike, but a family for Christmas? That’s exactly what 26-year-old Jackie Turner hoped for when she posted an ad with the title “I want to rent a mom and dad.” What she found instead was an opportunity to help others who are wishing for the same thing.

    Turner has a full scholarship at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California, and a 4.0 grade point average, but things haven’t always been so rosy. As reported by News 10 in Sacramento, California, Turner has dealt with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; spent years living on the streets; and at one point served nearly a year in jail for grand theft. After being released and attending a camp for troubled youth, she turned her life around. Today, when she’s not attending class or studying, Turner can be found volunteering at a local martial arts studio.

    More on Yahoo Shine: How to Fight the Winter Blues

    Good things aside, Turner wished for more this holiday

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