Hi everyone and welcome back to the Happy Munday Podcast. My name is Evan Machnic and this is the podcast to get your week started right. Each episode, we pick some great news that you may have missed from the previous week so make sure and hit that subscribe button.


On this episode...a man from Venezuela walks across South America, inmates work to rehabilitate a butterfly population, and a beautiful photoshoot shows a different side of the breast cancer fight.

First Story

A 57-year-old Venezuelan man recently finished a walk to the tip of South America. With nothing but a backpack and $30 in his pocket, Yeslie Aranda left his home in San Cristobal, Venezuela and after many months, he arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina, a distance of over 9000 miles. In 2013, Aranda and his daughter were in a car wreck and both lost a leg. He started on this journey to inspire his daughter to continue pursuing her dreams despite the difficulties. Aranda said quote "I wanted to show people that they can achieve their goals despite their current conditions. There are many people out there who have forgotten to dream big, even if they have no disabilities."

Second Story

Joe Arroyo is a homeless person who lives in New York City. Earlier in the week, another man was jogging by and noticed Arroyo's sign which said his shoes were broken. The man then took off his own shoes and gave them to Arroyo. The Twitter account @NYorNothing posted a video of the exchange and it caught the attention of Andrew Zurica. Zurica, a former prison inmate, said he knows about hard times and he wanted to help out Arroyo. He's the owner of Hard Times Sundaes and three other restaurants. After Zurica tracked him down, he told Arroyo, "I have openings in three of my restaurants, where we'd be happy to have you." Arroyo told WABC-TV that before the meeting, he'd been losing hope. He said, "All I needed somebody to do is just throw a ladder and I would climb out myself. This is that ladder."

Third Story

35,000 people recently attended the Foo Fighters concert in Belfast last week, but none were as lucky as 5-yearsold Taylor Hooper. Not only did Hooper get to see his favorite rock group live, but it was also his first concert ever. To help her son stand out, Taylor's mother Nikki made a sign that said as much. When Dave Grohl, the frontman of the Foo Fighters saw the sign, he read it aloud into the mic and the crowd started chanting for them to bring him on stage. Grohl then told the stage managers to bring the wee dude up here and asked Taylor to show the crowd how to dance. He spent the entire song enjoying himself and dancing like crazy. Check out the show notes for a link to watch the video of Taylor.

Fourth Story

In Oregon, a team of conservationists are working to preserve an endangered species of butterfly. The Coffee Creek Correctional Facility is the only women's prison in the state and it's working with the Oregon Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Institute for Applied Ecology to raise and introduce Taylor's checkerspot butterflies into the wild. Since the program's inception in 2017, over 1200 larvae have been raised and released. Butterfly conservationist and advisor to the program, Ronda Naseth, says that "inmates who have the opportunity to participate in this species recovery program are eager to share what they’ve learned with their loved ones. That has the wonderful ripple effect of more and more people in our communities caring about the future of these butterflies." Carolyn Exum, one of the technicians, said she is planning to use her experience to begin a career in conservation after her release from prison.

Fifth Story

Breast cancer affects millions of Americans each year. While going through the treatments and fighting the disease can be scary, one couple decided to turn that fight into something beautiful. Charlie Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer and, with the support of her husband, Kelsey, worked with photographer Mandy Parks to create a wonderful photoshoot that shows the many emotions and the love of the two as Charlie shaves her head. It really is an incredible shoot so make sure and check the link to the Facebook post.


That does it for this episode of the Happy Munday Podcast. I'd like to thank our Ecstatic-level patron, John Machnic and our top patron Rich Machnic! If you like what you heard and want to join them, please consider becoming a Patron at patreon.com/happy_munday or on our Anchor page. If you can't contribute financially, it would help immensely if you could leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. If you have some friends who you think would love some great news, make sure and share it with them. You can get in touch on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and check out our website happymunday.online and for some swag, like stickers, t-shirts, and coffee mugs, search hit up happymundaypodcast on TeePublic. If you have a story that would be good for a future episode, send an email to happymundaypodcast@gmail.com. Thank you for listening and here's the Happy Munday quote of the week from Charlie Johnson:

"Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made by the storms they walk through."