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Inspiring America

Celebrating remarkable individuals who remind us of the healing power of community and connection after a battle-tested year.

More inspiring Americans

Temple fencing coach Nikki Franke has been inspiring athletes for 50 years

Title IX was signed into law 50 years ago this week. That same year, Nikki Franke started Temple University's varsity women's fencing team. Franke, the only female African American head coach in Division I fencing, has an impressive record – nearly 900 wins – but her impact on athletes is the true measure of her success. She tells NBC News' Stephanie Gosk that "we have done a lot" for progress on gender equality in college sports, "but there's still a lot to do."
Temple fencing coach Nikki Franke has been inspiring athletes for 50 years
Temple fencing coach Nikki Franke has been inspiring athletes for 50 years

Special Met exhibition features work from museum staff members

NBC News’ Harry Smith takes us inside a special exhibition at New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art. The nearly 500 pieces on display were all created by Met staff members, including curators, educators and security guards.
Special Met exhibition features work from museum staff members
Special Met exhibition features work from museum staff members

Smithsonian’s first gallery for Latino heritage opens at National Museum of American History

A new exhibition that celebrates the cultural contributions, activism, history and varied experiences of Latinos in the U.S. It's a first step toward building a museum. However, $500 million still needs to be raised as leaders work to acquire artifacts spanning more than a century.
Smithsonian’s first gallery for Latino heritage opens at National Museum of American History
Smithsonian’s first gallery for Latino heritage opens at National Museum of American History

Man captures one photo a day for 26 years in poignant project

Michael Deering has taken one photo a day on his film camera for the last 26 years. He’s captured more than 9,000 images – from everyday moments to major milestones. Deering urges others to slow down and “notice the little things that life shows you every single day.”
Man captures one photo a day for 26 years in poignant project
Man captures one photo a day for 26 years in poignant project

First Black woman to win Olympic speed skating gold Erin Jackson boards F-16 for Air Force graduation

Olympic speed skating champion Erin Jackson teamed up with the Thunderbirds and boarded an F-16 to celebrate the Air Force Academy graduates. She follows in the footsteps of fellow gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin who attended the celebration in 2019.
First Black woman to win Olympic speed skating gold Erin Jackson boards F-16 for Air Force graduation
First Black woman to win Olympic speed skating gold Erin Jackson boards F-16 for Air Force graduation

Fifth-grader with alopecia creates nonprofit to send painting kits to children’s hospitals

Rosie Quinn has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes one’s hair to fall out. Growing up, people kept asking why she had no hair. Rosie’s mother would print paintings on headscarves for her, which led to the beginning of the nonprofit “Coming Up Rosies.” Rosie and her family assemble kits of paint, brushes, canvases, and anything needed to create head scarves to distribute to children’s hospitals. Rosie’s message: “Bald is beautiful.”
Fifth-grader with alopecia creates nonprofit to send painting kits to children’s hospitals
Fifth-grader with alopecia creates nonprofit to send painting kits to children’s hospitals

New exhibition at the National Gallery of Art gives viewers global journey through Black history

Curator Kanitra Fletcher says the mission of “Afro-Atlantic Histories,” a new exhibition at the National Gallery of art in Washington, is to ensure “people understand that work by Black diasporic people is just as treasured and important as the European art that you see.” It includes over 130 works taking viewers through a global journey from slavery to emancipation and civil rights. NBC News’ Yamiche Alcindor speaks to art students about its impact on them.
New exhibition at the National Gallery of Art gives viewers global journey through Black history
New exhibition at the National Gallery of Art gives viewers global journey through Black history

Baby giraffe able to walk with the help of human orthopedic group

When baby giraffe Msituni was born in February, veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park discovered that the little giraffe suffered from a range of ailments, including hyper-extended joints. The Hanger Clinic, a group specializing in building orthotics for humans, performed two procedures to fabricate a mold of Msituni’s leg and create a custom stainless steel brace. After wearing the brace for ten days, Msituni can now roam free. 
Baby giraffe able to walk with the help of human orthopedic group
Baby giraffe able to walk with the help of human orthopedic group

Lucy Westlake becomes youngest American woman to climb Mount Everest

18-year-old Lucy Westlake became the youngest American woman to conquer Mount Everest. NBC News’ Lester Holt has our interview with Westlake about her journey and her next goal: the “Explorers Grand Slam.”
Lucy Westlake becomes youngest American woman to climb Mount Everest
Lucy Westlake becomes youngest American woman to climb Mount Everest

Kids learn how to fish and more from inspiring Florida program

In Florida, “Big Will” Dunn mentors young fishermen through “Take A Kid Fishing,” a program that teaches kids, all of whom have either lost their father or don’t have an active father figure, how to fish. Dunn had a great relationship with his father and decided he wanted to share the experience with those that don’t have it.
Kids learn how to fish and more from inspiring Florida program
Kids learn how to fish and more from inspiring Florida program

Non-profit finds housing for patient’s family

When baby Oliver Huffman needed medical care, Pam and Harvey Lodish opened their Boston home to his family through Hospitality Homes, a non-profit that matches patients’ families with volunteer hosts. Since the program started, they’ve helped more than 37,000 families. Years later, Oliver’s aunt is now running the Boston marathon, dedicating each mile to the organization.
Non-profit finds housing for patient’s family
Non-profit finds housing for patient’s family