Posts tagged with "Good Morning America"

Honor Betty White with your passion for pets

January 10, 2022

Fans of the late Betty White have found a great way to honor the beloved actress and animal activist, reports Good Morning America.

The Betty White Challenge—an online event set for January 17, on what would’ve been the TV icon’s 100th birthday—has been gaining steam among fans online. The social media challenge encourages people to donate $5 to animal rescues or shelters in her name.

Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, told Good Morning America on Thursday, January 6, that the organization already has “seen … an uptick in donations” following White’s death.

White, best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” was known for her love of animals.

In 2011, she published a book, “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) in which she spoke about her work with animal nonprofits.

White died on December 31 at the age of 99. Jeff Witjas, her close friend and agent, told ABC News that the Emmy winner died of natural causes in her sleep in her own bed.

“Betty didn’t have illnesses. She didn’t have anything. People are putting it out there that she had the booster on Dec. 28 and that she had [side] effects. She never had a booster,” Witjas added. “They’re politicizing her death, and they shouldn’t do that, because she wasn’t that type of person in life.”

Witjas told ABC News that he visited White in her home about a month before she died and found her to be “all there,” albeit physically frail. “We were laughing, her sense of humor was there,” he said.

Research contact: @GMA

This baby and his swim instructor are friendship goals

October 22, 2021

A baby and his swim lesson instructor are the cutest friends and now the two are going viral on TikTok.

Tracey Martorana put her son, Lucas, now ten months old, in group swim lessons at three months at Saf-T-Swim in Wantagh, New York. He immediately formed a bond with one of the swim instructors, Carlson Rogers, and has been doing private lessons once a week with him ever since.

“Being a pandemic baby, our circle is really small,” Martorana recently told ABC-TV’s Good Morning America. “He knows the grandparents, immediate family and then there’s Carlson. Carlson is a part of our crew.”

Martorana said Carlson is the best swim instructor for Lucas because he goes with the flow and doesn’t push him too hard. If Lucas is crying, she said Carlson will give him time to sort it out; but if Lucas is splashing, he loves to splash and play along with him.

“I love watching the relationship,” Martorana said. “Carlson is a big strapping man and Lucas loves to hug him and hold onto him.”

While Lucas was at a recent swim lesson, Martorana took a video of a touching moment between Lucas and Carlson and posted it to TikTok.

“The comment section is hysterical. Everyone loves Carlson,” Martorana said. “I think it was just something important for people to see. Love knows no bounds.”

Research contact: @GMA

Third grader wins White House Historical Association’s National Student Art Competition

August 16, 2021

A pair of shackled African American hands cradles the White House against a backdrop of the American flag in a winning piece of art that is now on display in the White House, Good Morning America reports.

Gabrielle Faisal’s “Enslaved African Americans Built the White House” took home the top prize in the White House Historical Association‘s national student art competition for her creative interpretation of this year’s theme, “The White House: An American Story.”v

The nine-year-old from Detroit said her artwork represents history lessons that she has learned and read about.

“The White House is a symbol of America that was built by enslaved African Americans. The red stripes symbolize our struggle for freedom. The white stripes symbolize the purity of our struggle. Blue is the symbol of justice for all people no matter what color,” Faisal told ABC News Detroit affiliate WXYZ. “The stars represent the unity of all people coming together. The shackled hands are the hands of enslaved Africans who built the White House.”

The competition, now in its 60th year, received submissions from more than 500 students nationwide, GMA reports.

Gabrielle’s piece will be displayed until September 22. The display will also include the runners-up in Gabrielle’s age bracket, as well as art from the top three winners in the 4 to 8, and 9 to 12 grade level categories.

Research contact: @GMA

Cold snap: Iceland hotel seeks photographer to capture northern lights

July 30, 2021

Calling all adventure seekers! Hotel Rangá in Iceland is looking for a photographer to chase the northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, reports Good Morning America.

Hotel Rangá is located in the Icelandic countryside—far away from most light pollution. Temperatures typically average 40 degrees (C) to 50 degrees during the fall season, when the lights are at their peak in this area of the world.

This dream job consists of three weeks of chasing and capturing the lights from September to October. The photographer chosen for the job will be required to provide high-quality photos and videos, in order to receive all-expense-paid travel to and from Iceland.

According to GMA, the requirements also include giving the hotel “unlimited license to mutually agreed-upon photographs and videos.”

“In exchange for providing content of the northern lights at the hotel, this seasonal employee will receive free room and board along with access to the hotel‘s stargazing observatory and hot tubs, not to mention the opportunity to explore the photogenic land of fire and ice on their days off,” the hotel wrote on its website.

The lights can appear at any time of the night and the hotel even has a so-called “aurora wake-up service” so guests don’t miss the lights.

Interested photographers can apply for this dream job now at

Research contact: @GMA

Field of dreams: College grad honors parents with photos in fields where they earned her tuition

June 16, 2021

A recent graduate of the University of California-San Diego decided to honor her parents by taking graduation photos in the farm fields where they worked to support her education, reports Good Morning America.

Jennifer Rocha, who graduated from UC San Diego on Saturday, June 12, told GMA that she wanted to thank her parents for their support by taking graduation photos in the fields where she worked alongside them since high school. The heartfelt tribute was posted on the university’s Facebook page on Wednesday and has since gone viral.

“I wanted to take those pictures out there, specifically in the field, because that’s what made me go to college,” Rocha told “GMA. “That was my dad’s lesson of saying, if you don’t pursue a higher education, you’re going to be working here the rest of your life.”

She started working in the fields with her parents when she was a junior in high school. Each day, she would leave cross country practice to go home and work planting strawberries overnight.

“It was tough labor,” Rocha said as she remembered working late nights in the fields. “I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want to be doing this my whole life.'”

Rocha, raised in Coachella, California, said her parents encouraged her and her siblings to pursue a higher education. Growing up, she looked up to her older sisters as role models, because they both graduated from college and she wanted to “follow their footsteps.”

“My dad always told us that his dream was for us to get a college degree,” Rocha told GMA. “My parents have been working as migrant field workers since they were like 6 or 7 years of age. I always saw them providing for us first before them.”

Completing the past four years of college was not always an easy feat for Rocha. While being a full-time student, she also worked at the university’s police department to help pay for her tuition. To reduce the financial burden on her parents, she lived in her older sister’s apartment instead of the dorms for all four years and commuted to and from school each day.

The recent graduate said she worked long hours to fund her education. At times, her work shifts wouldn’t end until 4a.m. or 5 a.m., leaving only a few hours to spre before the next class.

“I have class at like 8 a.m., and it’s not worth me driving and then coming back,” Rocha said. “So, I would just nap in my car and then go to class after that.”

“It was tough times, but I mean, we got that diploma,” she added.

Rocha, 21, earned a degree in sociology with an emphasis in law and society. She said she will use her education to pursue a career in law enforcement.  Her goal is to increase Latino representation in the field and “help take the criminals off the streets, those that are actual criminals,” she said.

“Being the first one in my family to do law enforcement, that just brings like a whole other level of pride for [my parents],” she added.

Rocha hopes her photos and her story will be an inspiration to immigrant families. She said it was important to include her parents in her graduation photos because, “I wanted to not just honor them but honor all the migrant skilled workers, because a lot of times they aren’t recognized and we forget about them.”

“My parents being migrant workers were able to have three girls get their college education, and you can do it, too, and your kids can,” she said.

Research contact: @GMA

Colton Underwood says he’s ‘the happiest’ he’s ever been after coming out as gay

April 15, 2021

The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood—who was a contestant on the 14th season of  The Bachelorette and was the lead on the 23rd season of The Bachelor—has come out as gay during a high-profile television interview, Bustle reports.

On Wednesday, April 14, the Season 23 lead spoke openly about his sexuality on Good Morning America, explaining to Robin Roberts that the challenges of this past year helped him figure out who he is.

“Obviously this year has been a lot for a lot of people and it’s probably made a lot of people look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they’ve been running from or what they’ve been putting off in their lives,” the 29-year-old former professional football player said. “For me, I’ve run from myself for a long time and I’ve hated myself for a long time. I’m

The former Bachelor explained that he finally “came to terms” with his sexuality earlier this year and has been taking time to process it. “The next step in all of this has been letting people know,” he said. “I’m still nervous.” However, despite feeling anxious about telling the world, Underwood is looking forward to embracing who he really is rather than hiding it. “I’m emotional, but I’m emotional in such a good, happy, positive way,” he continued. “I’m like the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life and that means the world to me.”

In true Bachelor fashion, Underwood described coming out as “a journey,” and certainly not an easy one. “I would have rather died than said, ‘I’m gay,’ and I think that was my wake-up call,” he explained. The Season 23 star also said that, at one point, he struggled with suicidal thoughts. “There was a moment in L.A. that I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up. I didn’t have the intentions of waking up. And I did,” he said. “And for me, I think that was my wake-up call of, ‘This is your life. Take back control. I don’t feel that anymore.”

In response to his interview, executive producers from The Bachelor franchise issued a supportive statement, Bustle says: “We are so inspired by Colton Underwood’s courage to embrace and pursue his authentic self,” they wrote. “As firm believers in the power of love, we celebrate Colton’s journey in the LGBTQIA+ community every step of the way.”

Even with the support from the franchise, however, the athlete acknowledged that he had a few apologies to make, particularly to the women on his season. “Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way I did? I do,” he admitted. “I do think I could have handled it better. I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was, I genuinely mean that.”

In his coming out interview, Underwood also issued a direct apology to 25-year-old Cassie Randolph,with whom he ended The Bachelor season “in a committed relationship.” After admitting that he “messed up” and “made a lot of bad choices,” the reality star said that he truly loved his ex. “I loved everything about her. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me,” he said. “I’m sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I wish that I would have been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”

While this interview marks the first time that Underwood has openly identified as gay, it’s not the first time that he has discussed his sexuality publicly. While promoting his memoir, First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, in March 2020, he told Us Weekly that the hardest thing to write about was “getting called gay” in school. “The reason I say that is because it came back up when I was the Bachelor,” he added, explaining that people jumped to that conclusion because he was a virgin. “I understand why people might think that, but it was also a challenge of mine in grade school and in high school. I think I moved past it now.”

Research contact: @bustle

Mother creates ‘Just Us’ mobile app to help protect Black drivers

April 2, 2021

In a display of motherly love and concern for her own son’s safety—and everyone’s else’s sons and daughters—one mom has created a mobile app that will protect Black drivers in the event they are pulled over by police (and all people of color, including Asians, who currently are under attack).

Charmine Davis, a clinical psychotherapist based in Los Angeles, became increasingly concerned as her son neared driving age, she recently told Good Morning America—noting that Black drivers are more likely to be pulled over by police than White drivers.

Several academic studies prove the point: A study published in Nature Human Behaviour found that Black drivers in the United States are 20% more likely to be stopped than White drivers; and are 1.5 to 2 times as likely to be searched afterward.

Another study conducted by Harvard University researchers found that Blacks are more than three times as likely to be killed during a police encounter.

“A driver’s license to me meant that he was going to be out in the world and I couldn’t protect him,” Davis told “Good Morning America.” “I just kind of pondered, ‘What can I do? How can I stay connected without stagnating this young man who was ready to venture off?'”

She created her own answers: The Just Us app launched in August and currently has about 3,000 users. The name comes from a play on the word “justice.” There are three main features to the app:

  • Check In” will send a message to designated contacts that the person is safe and reveal their current location;
  • Head’s Up” will notify designated contacts that the person is being pulled over by law enforcement, send the driver’s location, and begin livestreaming; and
  • Help” will begin livestreaming and notify anyone within a three-mile radius of the app that the person needs assistance.

All features have the ability to be hands-free with voice activation, something that Davis was adamant about due to the harsh reality that many Black drivers face.

“We know that a lot of incidents happen when folks reach for things,” Davis said. “And so the voice activation was so important to me because you’re not reaching for anything. There’s no misconceptions there.”

Despite her busy schedule, Davis went above and beyond the call of duty, even funding the project herself. “She was so committed to it that she used her own money,” Candace Walker, a social impact technologist who worked with Davis on the app, told GMA. “And as you can imagine, this technology isn’t cheap to develop. So it was a big deal.”

“You can’t put a price on love,” Davis said of her monetary support.

Accountability and connection are other important aspects for Davis, who said the app keeps everyone accountable and that the more people who download the app, the safer we all will be.

“Just from a cultural aspect, we have always—as African Americans and as people of color— put our safety in someone else’s hands,” she said. “And this is just a way to put it back in ours in a peaceful way. And we are connecting with law enforcement and saying, ‘This protects not just me, but you too.'”

The app’s functionality extends beyond driving, and can be used in any situation where someone feels they’re in danger.

“We did a community meeting once, and one young lady said that she had used it on her college campus at night when she felt afraid,” Davis said. “She was just so happy to have it.”

The location data itself can be used as a way to bring up safety issues to policymakers and be an impetus for change. Walker noted that the data can be gathered to pinpoint specific areas -—down to the street corners—that have high incident reports.

Davis used her experience working with families who have experienced domestic violence and sex trafficking to highlight how the app can be used in those situations as well.

“Even if their phone was taken, we would be able to see if they need help, and they would be able to get help because it has their location on it,” she said. “And it’s not like the phone will be talking; so if someone is harming them, they would know that the police are on their way.”

Research contact: @GMA

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen collaborate on new Spotify podcast series, ‘Renegades’

February 24, 2021

Last year, Bruce Springsteen sat down for an in-depth conversation with former President Barack Obama that has become the crux of a new eight-part podcast —the first two episodes of which debuted this week on the audio streaming app Spotify, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America reports.

Renegades: Born in the USA was produced by Obama and wife Michelle’s new Higher Ground Productions company. The podcast features the politician and the rocker—both of them, cultural icons—discussing a wide range of topics, from family to race, to marriage, to fatherhood, to the current state in which America finds itself.

According to GMA, the preview, available on Spotify’s YouTube channel, includes a scene in which Springsteen and Obama discuss some issues they had with their fathers.

“My father was silent most of the time. He was not communicative,” Springsteen says. “I grew up thinking, you know, my father was, like, ashamed of his family. That was my entire picture of masculinity.”

Obama then shares, “So my father leaves when I’m two, and I don’t meet him until I’m ten years old, when he comes to visit for a month. I have no way to connect to the guy. You know…he’s a stranger who’s suddenly in our house.”

In another segment, Springsteen recalls that he bought his first guitar for $18, and that he then started learning some Beatles songs.

When Obama asks him how his parents reacted, the legendary singer-songwriter says, mimicking them, “Turn it down!”

Research contact: @GMA

Is there a ‘dogtor’ in the house?

January 11, 2021

A therapy dog in Baltimore is bringing joy to healthcare workers and patients, alike, by making digital visits, Good Morning America reports.

Loki, a two-year-old Rottweiler therapy dog is known for comforting patients each week at the University of Maryland Medical Center. But when the coronavirus pandemic prevented therapy dogs from visiting the hospital, Loki and her owner, Caroline Benzel, had to figure out a creative way to reach and develop rapport with patients.

So, Benzel came up with the idea of remote therapy dog visits. “I’ll Facetime [while Loki and are sitting] outside … in my mom’s front yard,” Benzel told GMA.

She said that she tells patients to close their eyes and imagine a different scene outside the confines of the hospital, telling them, “Imagine sitting at a park and we’re having a conversation so they can ‘hear’ the birds, they can see people walking by. So that’s kind of how we’ve been doing it now.”

Benzel, who is a second-year medical student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, started training Loki when she was just 18 weeks old. Then, she got Loki acclimated to the hospital’s environment and patients.

Benzel has describes her pup as a natural at her job. “I’ve never met a dog that’s so empathetic. It’s kind of strange. There have been many circumstances at the hospital where she can just read a situation where a patient is in a very bad way or a family member is going through a loss,” Benzel told GMA.

Before COVID-19 hit, Benzel would also dress Loki in a signature white “dogtor’s” coat that was custom-made for every hospital visit with patients.

Since transitioning to remote visits, Benzel and Loki also have had a chance to connect with hospital staff—and Benzel has noticed the painful physical effects caused by the masks that healthcare workers now wear.

“I was seeing the masks doing the damage to the nursing staff, the doctors, the social workers, because everyone, custodians to doctors are all required to wear it,” Benzel said.

She thought of ways that she could help those experiencing the issue and came up with care packages called Hero Healing Kits. The kits, which have Loki’s face on them, include products like hypoallergenic lotion for irritated skin, packs of gum to help with dry mouth, medicated powder to help with skin irritation, Vaseline, and tea and coffee packets. Each kit also has a thank you note with messages of appreciation for hospital staff during this time.

With the help of her neighbor, Benzel has put together about 1,400 kits so far and medical students have raised $300 to $400. The kits have become so popular, a medical student in Philadelphia also started the Hero Healing Initiative there. Benzel has also expanded and has created kits for neighboring hospitals.

The kits were also a way for Benzel to give back to the medical community, after members stood by her when Loki recently had to undergo ACL surgery for a broken foot, which required cash up front.

“I didn’t know how I was going to come up with that kind of money as a medical student,” Benzel said. “The hospital staff [at UMMC] suggested I do a GoFundMe, and the whole surgery and physical therapy ended up being covered by donations within two weeks.”

“They did that for me when I was down and I know the people there are going through a hard time now. themselves. I wanted to do what I could to return the favor,” she added.

Research contact: @GMA

Grandparents send cardboard cutouts to grandkids to take their place at Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

A set of grandparents from Texas have found a safe solution to sharing the holidays with their family amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Good Morning America reports.

Missy and Barry Buchanan, lovingly known as Ama and Poppi, still wanted to be “present” for Thanksgiving dinner—but in a safe way. So, Missy Buchanan ordered two six-foot cardboard cutouts of her and her husband and mailed them to their four grandchildren.

“My daughter got hers first. She texted, ‘Omg!’ and called and said, ‘This is the funniest thing we’ve ever seen,'” Buchanan told Good Morning America, adding that the kids propped up the cutouts and took pictures.

“They were moving us to the chicken coop to the kitchen to the fireplace,” she said.

Siblings Quintin, 12, Oliver, 10, and Clara, 6, received cutouts of Ama and Poppi at their home in Texas; and so did their cousin, Noah, 3, in California.

“My mom had told me that she was sending a large package for the Thanksgiving table,” Noah’s mom, Mindy Whittington, told “GMA.” “I didn’t think twice about it. I just assumed it was going to be a holiday decoration. We were just in stitches, we could not stop laughing. We were not expecting 6-foot cutouts of my parents.”

Buchanan said the cutouts have relieved some pandemic stress for her and her loved ones. “Family love is not going to change whether we’re there or not,” she added. “It’s a reminder that there’s still something to laugh about.”

Buchanan said her cutouts will also be celebrating Christmas with her grandkids this year.

Research contact: @GMA