StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay on His Top 5 Holiday Tales

These stories of heroism and hope are not to be missed.

The recent success of Serial, Sarah Koenig’s epic, true-crime podcast that kept millions riveted to their iPods this past year, has demonstrated a real hunger in our culture for compelling, and often difficult, stories. Whether it was criminal activity in the NSA, as revealed by Laura Pointras in Citizenfour, or the hidden artistry of a reclusive street photographer in Finding Vivian Maier, we can give thanks this holiday season for the poignant, thoughtful and groundbreaking narratives that drove 2014. One important figure helping to further this art form is StoryCorps founder and this year’s TED Prize winner Dave Isay who, in the great American folk tradition of grand storytelling, has spent the last decade collecting some of our nation’s most haunting and heartfelt moments. As Isay mentioned to us after receiving his TEDprize, “Listening is such an important way of letting other people know that their lives matter. In many ways, listening is the ultimate act of generosity to another human being.” In keeping with this spirit, Isay recently filled us in on his top 5 holiday StoryCorps narratives, plucked from the vast collection housed in the Library of Congress, and why he found them so compelling.

1. Yelitza Castro and Willie Davis share a unique family meal\n

“You remember the first dinner together?”

“An undocumented worker in North Carolina makes dinner for homeless men and changes their lives—a remarkable story of decency and kindness that all started one Christmas Eve.”

(Hear the full story.)

2. Kerry Johnson interviews his mother Carrie Conley on raising six children\n

“How did you get by?”

“A single mom from Detroit who worked long hours in a local hospital delivering food trays to patients, while raising six kids, is interviewed and honored by her son, a doctor. Much of the conversation revolves around their memories of Christmas. Carrie Conley represents this country at its best— a true American hero.”

(Hear the full story.)

3. The Road Home\n

“In this animation, a homeless man in Chapel Hill, North Carolina named Eddie Lanier is befriended by a passerby, David Wright, who brings him home to his family for Thanksgiving dinner. It turns our Eddie's father was once mayor of Chapel Hill. Eddie Lanier died last month—David Wright was with him when he passed away. This conversation between two remarkable men reminds us all of the poetry, grace and beauty in the stories we can find all around us when we take the time to listen to one another.”

(Hear the full story.)

"The Road Home" is part of StoryCorps' first-ever half-hour animated special, Listening Is an Act of Love, which premiered November 28, 2013 on the PBS documentary series, POV.

4. Miguel Alvarez and Maurice Rowland, unlikely guardian angels\n

“If we left, they wouldn't have nobody.”

“A story we broadcast just a couple of weeks ago: a janitor and a cook at an assisted living home spend three days and nights with elderly residents after the company that managed the home suddenly shut it down. Reminds us about what's really important.”

(Hear the full story.)

Note: The incident led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014.

5. Julio Diaz, robbed on a subway platform in the Bronx, changes a life\n

“As he's walking away, I'm like, 'Hey, you forgot something...'”

“Julio Diaz is mugged by a kid on a subway platform. As the mugger walks away, Julio offers him his coat and then buys him a meal. The story seems to go viral every holiday season, so I'm abiding by the wisdom of the crowd.”

(Hear the full story.)

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

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Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

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We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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