May-September Stories



Right after Candace Hall turned in her dissertation, wrapping up her time as a student at Maryville University, she walked out to a sweet surprise. Grinning from ear to ear were her three kids, ages 7,6, and 4. They were doing the floss dance to 1K Phew’s song “We Did It.” After the dancing, they picked up signs that read "I love you, mom!" "We did it!" and "Dr. Mom."

"I was pleasantly surprised. Not many people can effectively surprise me but they did. And it was just a joy to celebrate that moment with me,” Hall told “They saw me when I started the process and for them to see me finish, it was a blessing."

The 31-year-old spent the last two years working towards her doctorate in higher education. Hall’s dissertation examined the factors that contribute to job satisfaction in academia, especially among faculty of color. At the same time, she was juggling a full-time job working as an academic program coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as her roles as a wife and a mom.

“There are times where it’s overwhelming and I’m like, I think about this too much. I have to balance way too much, I have to give up something,” Hall started. “It was really important to just sit down and prioritize what was important to me. And then also to understand this would not be a permanent thing, like things that I would be sacrificing.

Hall says the key to her success was proper planning.

“My advice would be to write down your goals, what you see yourself doing and then put it up somewhere so that you see it and it’s a reminder why you’re doing this. So that in those days, it feels impossible and you feel like giving up, you can remember why you started.”

"My philosophy was, as long as I look ahead, so if life gets in the way and I fall behind, then I'll be exactly where I need to be."

Hall passed with flying colors. Her hooding ceremony and graduation will be in the Spring of 2020. She’s suspecting her loved ones may have yet another trick up their sleeves, but what’s most important to her is the lesson her children will take away from her diligence. “I just hope my kids remember this when they get older and they feel like, 'Oh, I can’t do it.' I hope they look back to this moment, like, ‘Look what mom did,’” Hall said.





homeless woman was moved to tears by a police officer who gifted her a bike when hers was stolen.

“I was really happy because I’m trying so hard because everything was falling apart,” Jessica Madras said, in a video taken by the Sarasota Police Department in Florida. “For once, something good happened.

Several nights ago, Madras found her bike had disappeared while she was at work.

“I noticed my bike was missing, I thought my husband had took it at first,” she recalled. “Then realized a customer walked out of the store and took my bicycle.”

Madras reported the theft to Officer Amelia Wicinski, who said there was not much she could do.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t recover the bike,” she said.

But, knowing Madras was expecting a baby girl, she wanted to do something special to help her back on her feet.

“She shouldn't be walking that far every day and she's trying,” Wicinski. “I appreciate that so much and I wanted to make it easier for her.”

She worked with the Salvation Army and chipped in her own money to purchase a bike, lights and a lock and personally delivered it to Madras while she was at work.

“With me being homeless and stuff, it really matters a lot,” Madras said.





A video showing two little boys running and hugging each other on a New York City street has gone viral. Michael Cisneros, one of the toddlers' father, shared the heart-melting footage last week after seeing the kids erupt in joy. 

Cisneros posted the clip showing the children sprint toward one another, arms outstretched and smiling, after being apart for just a few days. "It's Thursday," he wrote on Instagram. "These two haven't seen each other since Tuesday. So many feels, it's beautiful. So thankful."

The 2-year-olds, Maxwell and Finnegan, live a block apart in Washington Heights, CBS New York reports. The two have been best friends for about a year and just started riding the bus together to daycare since they live in the same neighborhood. Cisneros, who is Maxwell's father, told New York station WPIX-TV "it was just a lucky moment and I got it on camera." He explained why he chose to share it, even though he's normally a private person.

"With all the racism and hate going on, I just think it's a really beautiful video," he told WPIX. "The reason that it's getting attention [is] because it is with a little black boy and a little white boy... But if it can change someone's mind, you know, or just change their view on things, then it's totally worth it." 

First published on September 10, 2019 / 4:57 PM  © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.





It was during one of her brother's air raids, that 6-year-old Vivian Lord was struck by the fact that her army men were all just that — men. "I noticed that there was no girl army men," she said. "They don't make them."   

So the little girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, wrote a letter that read in part, "Please can you make army men girls that look like women?" She sent copies to several army men manufacturers, including Jeff Imel, owner of BMC Toys in Scranton, Pennsylvania. "I've never gotten a letter from a child like that before, but every now and then somebody asks, 'Do you have any female toy soldiers?'" he said.

The answer is no. Although, Jeff says it is on a list of potential future projects. He even showed Vivian some of his concept drawings. "They were doing sketches, but they were busy making boy army men," Vivian said. She just can't understand why this has to be so hard. "I'm not a big company. It's expensive to produce a new figure set. So I've got to do my due diligence and make sure it's something people actually want," Jeff said.

He said a lot of people really don't want to see women in the vintage, plastic military. Part of the pushback over the years has been that there weren't women in combat during World War II, so including them in a traditional set, brandishing anything other than a nurse's bag, wouldn't be historically accurate. And then this happened: Click Here





When a teacher hands out a list for parents of basic school supplies, it's a real problem for at least one in five children in the US who live below the federally defined poverty line. Back-to-school is an exciting time, but for the 15 million children living in poverty, it can also be a season racked with anxiety. After all, school supplies can get expensive. "We know most, if not all of (those children), go to school without some or all of the supplies," says Dave Smith, executive director of the Kids in Need Foundation. "Parents shouldn't have to decide between school supplies and putting food on the table." If you want to help brighten a child's school year, there are lots of programs and organizations just waiting for your donations. Here's a list to start you off. This is non-partisan, do it for the kids! Thank you, CNN.




A mother and son have taken to social media in a fight against hate. In an act of dealing with the overwhelming pain brought upon the residents in El Paso, one mother and her son are found a way to cope while consoling and helping others. Rose Gandarilla and her son, Ruben, started the #elpasoChallenge on Twitter with a simple idea in mind: spread kindness during a time of hate and violence.

Gandarilla, a school administrator, wrote on Twitter that her son came to her with an idea. He wanted to challenge all El Paso residents to do 20 random acts of kindness — one action for every person killed in the El Paso mass shooting that happened Saturday. The toll has now risen to 22  since the challenge was started on Sunday night.

The twitter post was up, soon after the positivity began. "Way to go kiddo! There is HOPE for the future and it starts with you!" and another said, "This will remain with me all day.......what kindness."  Exactly the affect young Ruben wanted to evoke. Love and kindness must overcome hate. Words have consequences. Take the #elpasoChallenge and make your words and acts of kindness drown out the hate speech from the magaphone of others. #RandomActsOfKindness #elpasoChallenge





Mother of three attends college, tries three times to get her degree, while also fighting for the actions to save and find missing and murdered native American women as mentioned here just a few weeks ago. Are there enough hours in the day?

When Michaela LeCompte Talksabout started classes at Montana State University Billings, her third child was barely 1 year old. She remembers writing an essay with her child in her arms. They were both crying. The 29-year-old student, mother of three doesn't stop there. LeCompte is also a mom on a mission in addition to her studies, she helped organize the university's march for missing and murdered indigenous women in April. and she also helped with the Line the Rims in Red event on Sunday. LeCompte isn't going to school just for herself. She's going to school for her family. I'm keeping it brief, 5 minutes, read or listen to Michaela LeCompte's story. Happy Mother's Month Michaela!

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Photo: BillingsGazette

Photo: BillingsGazette