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Iowans Share Stories Of Kindness And Connections

News fatigue is real. As the year closes out with rising awareness of climate change, international tension, multiple refugee crises, constant political wrangling, and so many important but difficult stories, Talk of Iowa pauses to focus on acts of kindness and positive connections.

Our first story is of man who overcame a heartwrenching childhood and found hope through music and an investment from his foster mother. Rusty Johnson has now devoted his life to working with young people in foster care as a music teacher as a counselor in Ames and serving on the board for Iowans for Adoptions. Johnson spoke with host Chairty Nebbe about about his difficult years in foster care and how his biologocal mother struggled with addiction.  

Then, Anne Craig of Lisbon shares her story on navigating a divorce. Craig opens up about how her family has coped over the last three months through the support of the village around them. 

Finally, Jason Sole and Andre Wright co-created a clothing compaign to challenge racial perceptions, called 'Humanize My Hoodie.' In pursuit of improving communities across the U.S., they have recently expanded their movement. They tell their story about uplifting the Iowa community they grew up in. Their book, "Humanize My Hoodie Movement" has recently been released along with a short documentary, "Road to the New York Fashion Week."


  • Rusty Johnson, musician, music teacher and counselor at Youth, Teen & Family Mental & Behavioral Services in Ames
  • Jason Sole, co-creator of Humanize My Hoodie
  • Andre Wright, co-creator of Humanize My Hoodie
  • Anne Craig, resident of Lisbon 
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa