We’re all tapped into 24 hour news cycles more than ever and force-fed all manner of stressful information. Global economics, climate change, politics, and so much more feed into the barrage of mostly bad news that we’re faced with and it can sometimes feel like the bad guys are winning. Since I solely think in pop-culture terms, it’s hard not to think that the Sith are gaining power, Voldemort is recruiting Death Eaters, or that Sauron is amassing armies in Mordor.

However, I try to remind myself to put things into perspective. No matter how bad I think I might have it, it’s likely someone has it worse for real. And it’s vital that we remember those nerdy examples of evil are always defeated by the good guys. So, when truly awful things arise we have to know that the Jedi will stop the Dark Side, Harry Potter and his friends will fight their hearts out, and that someone will always light the warning beacons of Gondor to unite the good people of Middle Earth. And sometimes, there are even good guys lighting those beacons in the real world.

Though not actual flaming torches, the Good Night Lights program in Providence, Rhode Island was a perfect signal of hope that reminded me people can be absolutely amazing. Having grown up in Rhode Island, I occasionally see articles shared about GNLights in my social feeds including a recent one on Reader’s Digest.

The program’s simple goal is to say goodnight to the kids staying at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Each night, people all over the city of Providence with a sight line to the building flash lights toward the hospital. The children see the lights from their hospital rooms and shine flashlights back. It’s a simple gesture from hundreds of strangers to let the kids know they’re not alone during a hard time in their lives. Over the years, the nightly tradition has spread from just one man to local businesses flashing their signs and entire police forces lining up with their cars.

Good Night Lights is literally a shining example of caring for others and how we can all make a difference in someone’s life even if it’s as simple as saying goodnight with a flashlight. The program’s positivity has even spilled out to benefit other communities like an assisted living facility that finds joy and a sense of community involvement in participating in the nightly tradition.

Some may consider this post needlessly sappy and just barely nerd-related with the mentions of LOTR but we’d be remiss to not shine Nerdist’s–let’s say–digital flashlight with a post like this as a reminder that we can all do some real good in the world to counteract some off the bad.

The creator of Good Night Lights hopes it’ll catch on everywhere so start your own locally and shine your digital flashlight by donating to a good cause like St. Jude’s, No Kid Hungry, and/or Make A Wish. And if you have similar tales of goodness from your neck of the woods, please share them in comments.

Image:  New Line Cinema

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