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…]

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…]

Profiles in Kindness

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For Day 3 of Random Acts of Kindness Week, I’m sharing a few examples of people who are all about showing kindness to others.  They are Jacob-Goeders-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Project-kindness-good-neighbor-storiespeople that see a need and try to fill it, and naturally feel compassion toward people facing difficult circumstances.

Take a moment to read about these kind folks, and consider where you might see a need that could be filled. In the meantime, you can try today’s Random Acts of Kindness Foundation assignment by reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Circle back and let me know how it goes, or share any other act of kindness you perform or encounter.

There’s a link to the full story at the end of each profile. Also, take a look at my posts for Day 1 and Day 2 of Random Acts of Kindness Week 2013 for more inspiration.

Jacob Goeders

The first profile in kindness is a young man who is extremely pure in heart, and filled with courage despite the challenges he faces. He is Jacob Goeders, better known as The Leukemia Slayer.

Jacob is an 11-year-old boy in a multi-year battle with leukemia. I met Jacob back in December 2011 at a Christmas event for children with serious illnesses. He shared with me about how he asked his 2,000 friends on his Leukemia Slayer Facebook page to send in a $1 each, so he could buy presents for the other kids on the oncology ward. It seems he had been diagnosed the year before around Christmastime, and he knew how difficult it was to be stuck in the hospital undergoing painful treatments. [Read more…]

‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Has Bay Area Roots

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As we celebrate Day 2 of Random Acts of Kindness Week, it’s interesting to note that the term ‘random acts of kindness’, which is now so firmly planted in our collective cultural mind, was born right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Writer and peace activist Anne Herbert is widely recognized as the person who coined the phrase, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” She reportedly wrote the phrase on a Sausalito restaurant place mat in 1982 or 1983. Because it turned the well-used terms “random acts of violence” and “senseless acts of violence” on their heads, many people found it instantly inspiring. Before Internet memes, it became a popular saying on bumper stickers, posters, and more.

Thirty years later Random Acts of Kindness Week and Day are gaining popularity, with more and more people and organizations wanting to promote awareness of how important spreading kindness for kindness’ sake.

Yesterday’s assignment from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation was to smile at 10 strangers. Today’s assignment: buy something for the person in line behind you. The above video will serve as the perfect inspiration. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

For more inspiration, see our Be Kind: Kindness Ideas Page.

 

Show a Little Kindness During Random Acts of Kindness Week 2013

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It’s time for Random Acts of Kindness Week, which is celebrated today through next Sunday, Feb. 17. Consider focusing a little time on showing kindness to others in either small or big ways, and join in on a national wave of spreading cheer.

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If you’re looking for some prompts to get you started, we have an entire page dedicated to kindness called Be Kind: Kindness Ideas. The page includes links to past articles I’ve posted on the topic, as well as links to organizations that feature hundreds of ideas. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in February

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Courtesy of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Ready to show some loving kindness this month? February is the month for both love and kindness. We show our love for those near and dear to us on Valentine’s Day. That same week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, when we’re encouraged to engage in acts of kindness to others in the community.

Here are five ways you can show some kindness to others in the San Francisco Bay Area, or get to know your neighbors a little better by expanding your cultural awareness. Have any more suggestions to add? Share them in the comments section!

1) Celebrate Lunar New Year: The Lunar New Year is Sunday, Feb. 10, ushering in the Year of the Snake. Cultural events are taking place all over the San Francisco Bay Area from Feb. 2 to Feb. 24, with the popular Chinese New Year Parade rolling through downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 23. A complete calendar for the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is available online. The Stanford-Pan Asian Music Festival is welcoming the new year Feb. 8-10, at the university’s new Bing Concert Hall. Look for other events, including many family-friendly happenings, at local libraries, community centers, and cultural centers. Los Altos Patch has a great list.

2) Check Out a Festival That’s for the Birds: The 17th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival is happening Feb. 8-10 at Mare Island, a former Naval base on a peninsula located near Vallejo. More than 60 walks and guided tours are available to see all the birds and wildlife found there; an art exhibit, silent auction, and other events are also scheduled. This is a unique opportunity to see this important nature preserve up close. See the festival website for more information. [Read more…]

Random Acts of Kindness Day: What Kindness Will You Show Someone?

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“Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.” Fred Rogers

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, the culmination of Random Acts of Kindness Week. My hope is that our world was a little nicer this week, as people reached out to one another in kindness. I think of it as that well known ripple effect, when you toss a pebble into a pool of water, and the circles reach out far and wide. Hopefully the random acts performed here and there are rippling all over our neighborhoods and world.

Did you perform an act of kindness? Did someone do something nice for you? Share with us in the comments.

If you haven’t tried showing kindness to someone this week, there’s still today (and tomorrow, and the next day….). Below are several suggestions. Check out our entries on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for more.

  • If someone you know lost a loved one in the past year, send then a note or some flowers to let them know you are thinking about him or her as they mourn the loss
  • Take a container of homemade soup to a sick friend (see my easy recipe below)
  • Plant a few flowers where others can enjoy them
  • Shop at a locally-owned business and find something encouraging to say to the owner
  • Write a few inspirational sayings on cards and leave them in public places for others to find [Read more…]

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Day 4

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Each day during Random Acts of Kindness Week we’re listing several kindness suggestions. We hope this week has felt just a little nicer to you, either because someone showed you some kindness, or because you spread a little kindness to others. Got a story of kindness from this week? Please tell us!

In the meantime, here are today’s ideas:

  • Offer to do some yard work for a neighbor
  • Look someone straight in the eye, ask them how they are, and then really listen
  • Organize a mini-food drive for the local food bank on your block or in your building
  • Set a goal to compliment at least five people today