Minnesota student sparks inspiration as 'joy ambassador'

A little bit of good news can go a long way. We know, there is so much good happening every day in our community and we want to do more to celebrate the good! Big things, little things and everything in between. Especially now, it’s important to highlight the good, the positive in our communities.

Sunday, we are kicking off a new segment, Kelly's Community Champions, at FOX 9 that’s all about highlighting the good that everyday people are doing each day, to make their community a better place.

In most school districts, the superintendent garners the most attention. But at Anoka-Hennepin, it's a student by the name of John who has become the "joy ambassador."

"I love your outfit, thanks!"

He takes his job seriously and he’s seriously good at it! John Lindgren is a special needs student. Once his teachers discovered his love of people and love of life. They created this joy ambassador role specifically for him.

"John is a ray of sunshine," said Teacher Work Coordinator Maja Miller. "He brings a smile to anyone’s face. He is just, just joy!"

"I just love making people happy," explained John. "It makes me sad when people are sad."

Once a week, John walks the hallways of the district offices, spreading joy. His words fill this building, well after he goes back to class. And after what’s been a very difficult few years for educators, John is exactly what they say they need.

"There is just such a buzz around our office," said Jackie Nelson. "Johnny is here, what office is he is. He is just such a bright light in our day."

And for John, it’s been a chance to make meaningful connections, learn new skills and become a bit of a celebrity.

"I love talking to people and they really love talking to me. Most times, when I say I have to go, they just keep talking," said John.

John says even after graduation, he’ll come back to walk these halls because he has more joy to spread and more smiles to give. This was the first year for the joy ambassador role, but the district does plan to keep it going. In fact, other districts have heard about John and the program and started similar programs of their own.

John was the perfect person to kick off this new campaign and now we want to hear from you. Who is the community champion in your life? Your neighborhood? Email us at community9@fox.com. We'd love to hear from you.