Lightbeam’s Inspirational Stories of Everyday People

We need to reboot our faith in humanity—a new project shows us how.
By Cameron Woo, May 2021, Updated June 2021

Lightbeam, a new project that calls itself a platform, is on a mission to close today’s empathy gap with inspirational short videos made by talented filmmakers.

Demand for uplifting news stories rose dramatically during the pandemic and continues to increase as more world events unfold. It’s been documented that as we shoulder the weight of an increasingly bleak world, our collective mental health has worsened.

Lightbeam addresses this important issue by enabling talented artistic voices to tell the stories of heroes in everyday walks of life. The videos are one to five minutes in length and are free to watch. Their well-crafted stories are thoughtfully produced and offer a dose of inspiration—storytelling harnessed to uplift our spirit as well as to connect and motivate us.

During these difficult times, Lightbeam’s mission is to show us that the best of humanity always shines through. “We are all being consumed by negative images and news stories and there is a point where it takes a toll on our well-being,” said Stephanie Sharis, co-founder of Lightbeam. “I felt compelled to instead shine on a light on the doers, the helpers and the changemakers. … I wanted to put more positivity out into the world so that we can start to shift the narrative and spark happiness and compassion, not anxiety and despair. The good stories are there—we just have to spotlight them.”

Animals—particularly dogs—are omnipresent sources of inspiration for many of us. So, it’s no surprise that the creative team at Lightbeam have chosen two stories with animal lovers at their center. One shines a light on a veterinarian who treats the pets of people living on the street. Another highlights the “Dogfather of Harlem,” a dog groomer forced to close his brick-and-mortar business during the Covid-19 shutdown but who rebounded to create what he calls the “Pup Relief Tour”—a fully equipped mobile unit that provides free grooming services to his Harlem neighbors.

Screenshot from Lightbeam

Cameron Woo is co-founder of The Bark magazine, and was its Publisher for over two decades. He was also the magazine’s Art Director.