Forget horror movies. Sometimes there’s nothing scarier than watching the daily news. With the onslaught of crime, war, scandal, and disaster reports, one has to wonder: Whatever happened to uplifting stories about the world? Enter: Darynkagan.com. Launched in November 2006, the site lives by its motto, “Show the world what’s possible” by delivering real-life stories that aim to inspire and encourage.
As a 20-year television veteran, former anchor at CNN news, and former and host of CNN Live Today, Daryn Kagan has reported a gamut of heart-wrenching stories, from AIDS and famine in Africa to the September 11 attacks (during which she happened to be live on the air). In 2006, after 12 years of working for the network, CNN did not renew Kagan’s contract, but she turned the rejection into an opportunity to explore a new medium. Now, by hosting this Web site and writing an accompanying blog, Kagan is able to lighten the mood and feature “hopeful news” for a change.
Individuals making a difference. People overcoming obstacles. Businesses, elders, kids, even animals achieving extraordinary things. These are some of the themes you’ll see over and over again through the great diversity of videos Kagan has compiled on her site. Fortunately, she’s also grouped them into easily browse-able categories.
So, say you’re an art lover. You’ll have no trouble finding videos relating to unusual art endeavors, like the man who sees the letters of the alphabet in the trees of Central Park. If you’re a sucker for romantic comedies, you’ll enjoy the Love Bucket section, with a series in which ordinary people stage elaborate surprise marriage proposals – the kind you’ll usually only see in a movie – for their unsuspecting significant other. And if you simply want to see real people doing their part in the world, head on over to any of the heroism, charity, world events, or sports sections, where you’ll meet people like Ron Zaleski, a man walking the Appalachian Trail barefoot to raise awareness for mental health training for soldiers.
All the episodes are produced with an intimate, news-documentary feel (think: 20/20 or Dateline NBC but more casual), and many will, if not inspire, at least put a smile on your face.
Sometimes, the most moving videos are simply of people who live and adapt their lives to the fullest. Witness 95-year-old Nola Ochs, the oldest person to ever graduate college; and Gille Legacy, an artist with cerebral palsy who paints with his nose and shares an amazing love with his wife Sandy. And let’s not forget the animals: Faith is a two-legged dog that has–literally!–learned to walk upright.