Random Acts of Kindness Week 2015: Spread a Wave of Kindness Online

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The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF) is encouraging people to commit 100,000 random acts of kindness by Sunday, Feb. 15, amplifying the kindness by sharing that act online to the world during International Random Acts of Kindness Week.YouTube Preview Image

“Imagine if for one week, all of your social media feeds were flooded with kindness. Uplifting news stories, inspiring quotes, kind comments…for one week everyone united to focus on the positive. That’s the goal of #RAKWeek,” the RAKF website states. The goal is for people to do an act of kindness, and then create a social media post using the hashtag #RAKWeek2015.

Now in it’s 20th year, International Random Acts of Kindness Week began Monday, Feb. 9, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 15. Millions of people around the world participate each year, including classroom students and teachers, community organizations, and individuals. The RAKF highlights dozens of kindness stories from RAK Week, as well as hundreds of kindness ideas, on its website.  [Read more…]

The Kindness Challenge Day 5 and Beyond

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From the “Free Hugs Campaign” YouTube video.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and Day 5 of Random Acts of Kindness Week, today’s Kindness Challenge is to give an extra someone a hug. Yes, you are going to hug the ones you love (I hope), but why not extend a hug to someone you wouldn’t normally hug? There may be someone out there who really needs it.

“I have learned there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words,” novelist Ann Hood is quoted as  saying, and I know in my own life that’s been true. I don’t remember a word people said to me after my father passed away more than 20 years ago, but I do remember the hugs I was fortunate to receive. [Read more…]

The Kindness Challenge Day 4

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A few of Shannon Weber’s loveyou2.org notes.

Sometimes I think the massive onslaught of electronic messages we see all day long starts to blend together like some kind of digital stew in our brains. Bits and bytes start to swirl together and end up getting lost in the mix. So when an actual heartfelt paper message crosses our path, one that expresses authentic feeling—love, admiration, thanks, congratulations, encouragement—that stops us for a moment and stays with us for a long time. I guess electronic heartfelt messages stand out from the rest, too, but there is something about a note, card or good-old-fashioned letter that stands out as special.

Today’s Kindness Challenge, as part of Random Acts of Kindness Week, is to write a note, card or letter to someone. It could be someone you know now, someone from your past, or even a stranger. Is there a teacher you want to thank? An old friend you could share how you really feel about your friendship? A family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile? Or the very people you share a roof with? [Read more…]

The Kindness Challenge Day 3

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random-acts-of-kindness-week-random-acts-of-kindness-foundationIt’s Day 3 of Random Acts of Kindness Week, and time for a third Kindness Challenge. Every day this week I’m issuing the challenges to encourage us to start a wave of kindness through our communities and the world.

On Monday I encouraged readers to smile a little more. Tuesday’s challenge was to have lunch with someone you don’t normally eat with. Today’s challenge: let someone behind you in line jump ahead of you. The extra twist is to tell the person you’re doing it for Random Acts of Kindness Week, and ask them to “pay it forward” by doing something kind for someone else. [Read more…]

The Kindness Challenge Day 2

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random-acts-of-kindness-week-smiling-is-good-for-you-science-of-smiling-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesIt’s Random Acts of Kindness Week, Day 2, and each day I am issuing readers a “Kindness Challenge,” some simple act to spread kindness and cheer to friends and strangers you come across during your day.

Yesterday I challenged readers to smile at one extra person during the day. Did you know that smiling gives you the same (if not better) effect on your brain as eating chocolate, and that the relaxing effect of smiling is similar to getting a good night’s sleep? People who smile more are generally healthier and live longer than people who don’t. [Read more…]

Be Kind! Random Acts of Kindness Week Kicks Off

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Image by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Kindness is a popular Internet topic. People are consistently searching the word “kindness,” which I know personally since the Good Neighbor Stories “Be Kind: Kindness Ideas” page is usually the most viewed on the site every single day. It’s heartening to know that there are folks out there who actively seek to be kind in a world where the bad can at times seem to overshadow the good. But this week the good will hopefully shine above all in a wave of kindness, thanks to International Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week, which kicks off today and ends on Sunday.

For 19 years the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and others have promoted the event, which always falls during the week of Valentine’s Day. The idea is to promote kindness by encouraging people and organizations to perform good deeds for others around them, both those they know and total strangers. The acts can range from simple things like smiling at people, to more involved community volunteering. The foundation has a list of 10 ideas for this year’s week, plus dozens more for places like the home, school, and office, as well as hundreds more ideas on its site. Of course you can always check out my “Be Kind” page for more ideas. [Read more…]

‘Pay It Forward’ Today

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Pay It Forward DayToday, April 25, is the 7th annual Pay It Forward Day, when people around the world are asked to perform kind deeds for up to three people, and in turn encouraging each recipient of the deed to “pay it forward” to up to three more people, and so on. The hope is to spread a wave of 5 million acts of kindness around the world in one day.

The Pay It Forward website includes downloadable and printable cards to pass out to the receivers of the good deeds. The cards themselves are then passed on to the next recipients. On the back of each card are check boxes, so that as they travel recipients can see how many people have already been a part of the chain of kindness. [Read more…]

New Resource: The Kindness Calendar

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Kindness-Calendar-annual-events-service-volunteers-community-good-neighbor-storiesAfter nearly three years of covering all sorts of volunteer service events, as well as special days for kindness and general do-goodery, I decided to put all the ones that happen on an annual basis into a single handy resource list, the Kindness Calendar.

Scratching your head as to when Random Acts of Kindness Week or Make a Difference Day is? It’s on the calendar. Planning a service event for your organization and wondering if you can piggyback on a community-wide event, or want to avoid a conflict? Double check on the calendar. Need a link for more information about an organization sponsoring a specific day? Go to the calendar!

There are more than 30 special days/weeks/awareness months listed on the calendar. Most of them have links to organizations or information pages that relate to each one. Share the calendar with your friends and colleagues who may be interested.

You can always find the Kindness Calendar on the drop-down menu below the Community Calendar button at the top of the page. Which reminds me, list your own community event for free on the Community Calendar page at anytime.

Did I miss an annual awareness event? Please tell me in the comments section!

 

Put Your Sweater On and Help Someone, it’s ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Day

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It’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Day, a.k.a Mister Rogers’ birthday. America’s favorite neighbor would have been 85 today. Over the last 10 won't-you-be-my-neighbor-day-fred-rogers-mister-rogers-volunteerismyears since his death, March 20 has grown in popularity as a special day to promote volunteerism and all-around neighborliness. Plus wearing sweaters.

When “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered on PBS in 1968, the gentle children’s show always started with the song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, along with Mister Rogers putting on a signature cardigan sweater (usually zip-up, and always knitted by his mother) and a pair of lace-up tennis shoes. The show encouraged the qualities of creativity, kindness, tolerance, and altruism.

In Fred Rogers’ hometown of Pittsburgh, PA., city groups celebrate this day with volunteer service projects, and everyone is encouraged to don a cardigan sweater. In fact, collection drives for sweaters, shoes, and other clothes, along with diapers, food, books, and more, are popular events. [Read more…]

Be Kind by Thinking Globally, Donating Locally

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Today’s Random Act of Kindness Week assignment is to donate either time or money to a local charity. I like this one, because it shines a light Yasmine-Davis-Make-a-Birthday-Wish-Good-Neighbor-Stories-Random-Acts-of-Kindness-Weekon those nonprofit organizations that serve our communities day in and day out, many times without the recognition or larger donations that benefit big name national and international groups.

Good Neighbor Stories often features small nonprofits making a big impact while operating on shoestring budgets here in the San Francisco Bay Area. On Wednesday two groups, The Grateful Garment Project, and Good Karma Bikes were part of my “Profiles in Kindness” post.

I’ve also written about other small nonprofits like Make a Birthday Wish in Cupertino, led by teenager Yasmine Davis and her family. Together with Yasmine’s friends as volunteers, they throw birthday parties for Silicon Valley children whose families are homeless or in deep financial need, complete with gifts, cake, decorations, favors, and fun activities.

Another great example of a small group making a big difference is Project WeHope in East Palo Alto. Pastor Paul Bains [Read more…]