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How I Overcame Bullying: A 13-Year-Old Actress’ Inspiring Story

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." - Walt Disney


This is the first video in a series highlighting resilient and inspiring people who have successfully overcome difficult obstacles in their lives. Today, we highlight the strength and confidence of Rachel Arianna, a 13-year-old from Trumbull, CT. Rachel has seen both success and bullying due to that success in her life. Rachel is an actress who has been in many commercials, Saturday Night Live and the movie "Lies I Told My Little Sister." She was bullied through social media and in school.

She believes that to stop bullying, both in and out of school, students need to talk to each other about it — and use the arts to kick start that conversation. Rachel started the program Words Can Soar in January of 2015 and created a large, anti-bullying mural in front of her school along with eight of her friends and Hillcrest Middle School.

“You can do a lot of different things as long as we are united in stepping up to bullying together," she added. “Nobody should feel like the victim of bullying and nobody should feel the need to do the bullying, and the best way to talk having peers talk to peers about it so we can all begin to understand each other better." It's hard to believe Rachel is only 13. She is such an incredible young lady. She can and WILL make a difference in this world! See more about what she is doing by checking out her website and Facebook page.

This video was produced by Tracy Chevrier and shot/edited by John Houghton. Want to see more HooplaHa Originals? Check out the HooplaHa YouTube page…and don't forget to smile!

Rescue, Transform, Share: How an Ohio Soup Shack Is Saving Lives

"It really does take a village to help people," says Sandra Lettie, a volunteer with La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio. La Soupe is helping to build and activate just such a "village" of compassionate people from the local area around the goal of producing food from discarded produce and providing it to families in need.

According to La Soupe's CEO, Suzy DeYoung, the organization's central mission is to "rescue, transform, and share." First, volunteers with La Soupe visit grocery stores and farms to pick up produce that was going to be discarded and "rescue" it for use in the soups that the team creates. That produce is then "transformed" into healthy, delicious food by the chefs at La Soupe. Finally, the food is "shared" with those in the local community who need it.

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Sweepstakes Winner Gets Unforgettable NASCAR Experience!

Stacy Comilang from Preston, CT., likes to think of herself as a "need for speed" kind of girl. She is a fan of NASCAR and had been to a few races while growing up in California. Even though she has never driven in a car much faster than the speed limit, or been in a race car, she would love to do both. Little did she know that when she casually entered a sweepstakes on the Coke website this past spring, that both of these dreams would soon come true!

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Man Goes on Cross-Country Hugging Tour To Spread Love

Hugging is considered to be a rather intimate form of affection across the US. Everyone hugs, but rarely do we ever hug strangers. Arie Moyal is willing to do just that. He is the founder and creator of the Hug Train, a national tour of free hugs to promote mental health awareness. Arie travels across the country giving hugs to strangers who are willing to give him an embrace.

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Dan's Coffee Runs Bring Warmth To Chemo Patients and Staff

Coffee and a smile are sometimes the best medicine. When Dan Dewey's father was being treated for cancer, Dan found himself following a routine in a situation which needed a little perking up.

Thus began what has become known as "Dan's Coffee Run". Every Thursday morning, Dan does a special coffee run for the staff and patients at the Michigan Cancer Institute in Bloomfield Hills, bringing Starbucks Coffee and a lot of smiles to the patients and providers at the cancer treatment center.

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This Organization Feeds Their Entire Community

If you are a kid and your bed is a lumpy, old couch or a cold, hard floor and you leave home for school without a regular breakfast, you will not excel in your classes. This daily struggle is shockingly common in many areas of the country and it sets many children on a downward spiral at an early age that is difficult to recover from. This is where Meals By Grace is making a difference.

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Anonymous Authors of Love Letters Uplift The Lonely

While it is exciting to see the bold type of a newly arrived email from an old friend or the pulsing dots of a long awaited text, there is still something special about the arrival of a hand written, stamped envelope in your home mailbox.

For those who are facing personal difficulties, adjusting to new circumstances, or just feeling isolated, the physical experience of handling a letter, opening the sealed side of the envelope, and sliding out a beautiful card brings the thrill and anticipation of contact with another person, something they may been missing for long time. Fulfilling this need is at the heart of an inspiring organization called "The World Needs More Love letters".

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A Father, A Son, And A Hockey Fan’s Dream Come True!

Coca-Cola, Shaw's Supermarkets, and the Boston Bruins have teamed up to make one lucky Bruins fan's dream come true. After purchasing a Coke from Shaw's in the New England area, contestants were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a "Player for a Day Experience" with the Boston Bruins.

The lucky winner's name is Mark Karolkiewicz. Mark has been a Bruins fan his whole life and even though he had the opportunity to be a Bruins Player for a Day, he selflessly gave the prize to his son Eric Karolkiewicz, also a die-hard Bruins fan!

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Dancing Away From Illness And Onto The Stage

The hall lights dim…..a hush comes over the audience … the command "places everyone" is given… there is a palpable stillness in the air as the first notes of the opening piece float out of the speakers and hover above the stage…. the curtain rises with a whir … the lights come up… its time …

These are the moments a performer lives for. The hours of solitary sweat and toil practicing their craft in sparse, small rooms, are the dues required for the joy of putting their skill and craft out there for an audience hungering for something special and moving.

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