In a week that saw more death and devastation in Ukraine, there were stories and images of love and hope. In case you missed them, here are a few of the week's highlights.
A 9/11 responder is rescuing Ukrainians from war
In 2021, Army and Navy combat veteran Bryan Stern founded Project Dynamo, a nonprofit organization of veterans who go around the world to hostile regions and help evacuate civilians to safety.
Stern, who was a first responder the morning of 9/11, has been in Kyiv, Ukraine, since a week before Russia invaded the country, and he has been working to save Ukrainian citizens since the first bomb fell.
Stern told TODAY Parents that his Project Dynamo team has safely evacuated American, Canadian, Polish, Dutch, and Ukrainian families from Kyiv. They have received 14,000 requests for help in the area.
“I’ve been part of the most elite units in the military — all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve been blessed with an awesome career. And the last seven or eight months, without a doubt — between Afghanistan and Ukraine — have been the most rewarding of my career,” he added. “There’s no place I’d rather be than right here. No place. No place I’d rather be.”
Teachers in Ukraine are doing what teachers do — not giving up on their students
Though a war wages around them, the teachers of Ukraine have decided school is still in session, if only to give their students some kind of routine and stability in the midst of emotional and physical tumult.
“I cannot serve in the army, but I can teach students,” one teacher told NBC's Matt Bradley.
“We’ve had conversations with our kids and ask them, ‘Do you want to go back to your school next year? What is your opinion?’ And they want to go back. They want to go home,” another educator told TODAY Parents. “So do my husband and I. We plan to return to Kyiv when this is all over and help rebuild the city — rebuild our community — so we can continue doing what we were doing there: Teaching.”
A kindergartner's spelling mishap left the internet in tears (from laughing)
A Pennsylvania mom named Tara had a memorable parenting moment when her 6-year-old, Izzy, brought home a project she completed at school this week.
Izzy's assignment was to come up with a survey question she could ask high school students so she could practice making tally marks and counting. But when she had written down her question, she had an unfortunate but hilarious spelling issue.
Izzy's teacher kindly corrected the error.
“We are now looking for a spelling tutor if anyone is available,” Tara joked — but come on, what fun would that be?
This baby's relatable disgruntlement with the world went viral
"When you were just born and you already 🙄😕," wrote Catholic priest and author Padre Guillermo Serra in a tweet accompanying a video of an apparently none-too-pleased newborn.
The video was shared by several accounts, but Father Serra's original post has more than 14,500 likes ... because yes, Disgruntled Newborn Baby, we totally feel your vibe.
She waited 17 years for this birthday gift
TikTok user @BethCory posted a video of her mother-in-law opening her birthday gifts this year: first, her favorite licorice, which might have been enough. Then, a copy of the book she read her son when he was little, which made her cry. But wait, there was more!
"She's been waiting for this present for 17 years," Beth wrote in the caption.
Witnessing these moments never gets old, and it's such a good reminder that even as the bad news of the world seems overwhelming, good news is coming.
Have a good weekend, everyone!