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…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in the New Year

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be-kind-everyone-you-meet-fighting-hard-battle-whoisplatoThe old year is put to bed, and the New Year is still waking up and getting started. As you rise up with it, consider some ways to make this year a little happier for you and those around you. You can make a difference in the lives of the people you come into contact with with only a small amount of effort. Here are five ways you can be a good neighbor this year. Can you suggest more?

1) Seek First to Understand: By now we’ve all seen the Internet memes out there with Plato’s quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard (or harder) battle.” Next time you encounter someone who seems like he or she is about to bite your head off, consider the person might be having a really bad day, or is going through a painful time. If it’s someone in a store or on the road, let them pass and silently wish them well. If it’s a friend, co-worker or family member, save the tart response and ask a few questions. Hey, are you having a bad day? What’s up?

2) Schedule in Chance Conversations: Years ago my neighbors told me it always looked like I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I [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 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…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in February

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national-heart-month-american-heart-association-american-heart-monthThere are many problems we can’t individually solve, from a possible mega-drought in California to the entertaining-but-possibly-serious snafus at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. We can’t fix those head-scratching bathrooms in Sochi (!), but we can look around our own communities and find something we can fix, or at least take steps toward a positive resolution. Here are five ways you can help your own community or circle of influence in February.

1. Mend a Broken Heart: This is the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month. The American Heart Association (AHA) is teaming up with Walgreens to offer free blood pressure screenings all during February. According to the AHA, unchecked blood pressure can seriously damage arteries, the heart and other organs. Get checked, and make sure those you love get checked, too. And consider readying yourself to one day save a life by signing up for a CPR course. The AHA offers many levels of training, including the basic “Friends and Family.” The AHA website allows you to search by zip code for classes, and you can even get CPR training online at your convenience. [Read more…]

Carter Work Project Day 1: ‘A Culture of Kindness’

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carter-work-project-habitat-for-humanity-east-bay-silicon-valley-jimmy-carter-rosalynn-carter-volunteers-kindnessI spent the day with dozens of volunteers today in San Jose for Day 1 of Habitat for Humanity’s Carter Work Project. One of the best lines of the day was from a long-time volunteer who told me she volunteers because of Habitat’s “culture of kindness.”

Best moment of the day: when a member of one of the partner families—someone who thought she’d never be able to purchase a home in her lifetime—was in tears when I asked her what being able to purchase a Habitat home means to her. She could barely speak.

My day as a volunteer started at 6:30 a.m. at Lake Cunningham Park in East San Jose to help at the registration tables, before heading off to work sites to interview people and take photos as a Social Media Volunteer. Of the volunteers I met today, most were from around the Bay Area, but some were from as far away as Los Angeles.

Tomorrow’s day starts at 6 a.m., to greet the hundreds of volunteers showing up to work with President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn, and country music stars and husband and wife Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood. The couples worked in Oakland today.

Here are some other highlights from the day: [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!