I run a classroom economy with my 3rd grade students where they apply for jobs, get weekly pay, pay monthly rent for the desks, can buy their own desks and even buy their classmates' desks and become landlords.
With their income they can buy items at our class store, purchase bigger items at our monthly auction, or pay for experiences (lunch with me, rent me for recess, paint my nails).
One student decided to cash in a lot of his funds in order to do a RAOK for the class. He bought a class party...for $2,000. Just to give you an idea of how difficult that is and how giving it is, most students are paid $15 weekly. Rent is $100 a month.
So, instead of using his savings for himself, he decided to use it for his peers. Warms my heart.
I was just stopping by the grocery store yesterday when I saw a guy outside with a sign that said, "Anything helps". As I turned my car around and he was just about to pack up and leave. I asked what he needed in the store. He asked for a can of ravioli. I picked him up ravioli, spaghetti, and beef stroganoff in the car. He seemed to be appreciative when I gave them to him.
This kindness really touched me, and it looks like it may ripple for years to come.
Probably the best note I have ever gotten from a student in 21 years of teaching. This was spontaneous, not an assignment. Had to frame it. Let me translate:
"I will write perfect. I will never break a rule. I will clean my desk. I will get blue money (classroom cash). I will go to college. I will have a job. I will become the boss of all the knuckleheads. I will participate. I will have a growth mindset. I will never bully. I will be nice. I promise."
I live about a mile from a gas station. In front of that gas station is a bus stop. I see people at that bus stop every single day, but I never really have looked at them. A few days ago in the morning, as I was waiting at the light in front of the gas station, a man pushing a loaded down cart walked in front of me at the intersection. I recognized him. He was someone I had seen at the bus station before. When I came home later in the day, I noticed him sitting at the bus stop again. And, the next morning, there he was. When I came home that evening, he was still there. Suddenly I started noticing this man at the bus stop and realized he wasn't catching any bus. So, today I finally pulled into the gas station and introduced myself. The man's name is Bill. ... Read Full Story >>
I went to the grocery store today and saw a very young couple holding a sign: "Please Help. Don't need rent money, just food for our family." So, I asked what I can buy for them. The young woman spoke in a strong accent I didn't recognize, "Sandwich, please." I asked if she wanted fruit and what kind of sandwich. Through hand gestures, she asked if she could come with me. So, she accompanied me inside the store. I bought her tomatoes and a chicken breast sandwich. She started speaking to me in Spanish and I learned that the two were Yugoslavian, and she knew some Spanish/Portuguese/Italian. Her Spanish was better than her English, and my Spanish was better than my Yugoslavian. I finished my shopping and delivered the tomatoes and sandwich to the couple who had been collecting other grocery items that I would guess were donated. They thanked me and said, "God bless you." I don't ... Read Full Story >>
That was SOOO much fun! My daughter went out to the bike path and a corner in the neighborhood and offered people cold drinks (soda and water) and Smile Cards. Many said "no thanks," but were appreciative.
Lots were suspicious and asked, "why?" When we told them it's what we were doing it for RAoK Month, they were so happy! Almost everyone offered generous thanks.
One person felt compelled to pay, and couldn't believe we wouldn't take the money. He shook our hands.
One person said he'd give the drink to his homeless friends. So we gave him as many as he could carry.
And, one person took a photo of us...Spreading kindness! #AprilRAoK
When my students came in from recess today, they all had a treat on their desks, a small bowl of pretzels, and a RAoK card to pass on and Pay It Forward. #AprilRAoK
Today was really fun! I went to my local grocery store with a handful of quarters and I loaded up all of the candy/gumball/toy machines so when a child came across what he/she wanted, there'd be quarters waiting to pay for them. I also added a "Smile" Card so they can learn to pay it forward.
I left a package of sunflower seeds in the mailbox this morning with a note to the mail carrier and a "Smile Card". I remember when I was delivering mail and one customer always left a cold drink in the mailbox for me.
When I returned today, with my mail was a thank you note. :)
My daughter and I love doing this RAOK every April. It's a great opportunity for her to see kindness in action as well as the skepticism in our society. This year was similar to the others. Some people politely declined our drinks, but you could tell that many others were skeptical of "kindness with no strings attached." I believe it's because it's so unusual in our society. "There's got to be a catch. They must be trying to sell me something or hand out religious materials." Some ignored us completely. But then, there are those experiences like the dad and his 5th-grade daughter today who stopped and got cold water. They wanted to know what we were doing, why, and what prompted it.They stayed and wanted to hear our story. Then there was the tourist from Italy on his motorcycle who couldn't believe that we wouldn't take money in exchange for the drink. There was the ... Read Full Story >>
|Children hand out ice cream vouchers on State Street in kindness:
I saw the video last night on TV, but it doesn't look like it's available online, but the story is.
These are my students and the kindness flash mob we did yesterday! #AprilRAoK
That was so much fun. About seven students from the school where I teach, as well as their families, came out today for our "kindness flash mob."
We contacted our local McDonald's who donated 250 free ice cream cards. So, in the rain, about 15 of us on the main street downtown passed out ice cream cards to locals and tourists, as well as a "Smile Card."
You should have seen the kids. They were interacting with the people, making them smile, explaining RAoK Month. There was a reporter and a photographer from the local paper.
We really made people's day, but my students and their families got a terrific experience of spreading kindness in the community, something I think none of them will forget...I know I won't! #AprilRAoK
In April I put together a RAOK bag for my car. I stocked it with food, water, candies, gift cards, lottery tickets, and the like. During the month, if I saw someone in need, I would look in the bag for something to help them.
After April, I still had some items in my bag, and I've reached in a few times since then.
Today, I was at a convenient store returning a DVD I had rented for my daughter when a guy asked if I had some money for bus fare. I rarely carry cash, and I was driving my wife's car (my car has change in it). I told the man I would look to see if my wife had left any change in the car. She hadn't! But she had put my RAOK bag in the car.
So, I looked, and lo and behold, there was a scratcher in there. I handed it to the man and told him good luck, and if it hit $500 to be sure to pay it forward. As I pulled out, he scratched and yelled that he'd won a free ticket.
I certainly hope that ticket was a big winner!
I'm a teacher and at recess I usually stay in and correct papers or help students with work they are behind on.
Today, I surprised them all and went outside to play!
I taught them a new game and now they are teaching the rest of the school to play it.
I saw a man who looked like he was really down on his luck today, and another man walked up and said, "How you doing? Are you hungry?"
He responded, "Yeah, kind of."
"Can I get you a sandwich in the store?" asked the other man.
I didn't want to stand there and stare. I continued to walk, and didn't hear any more, but I thought the act was very kind! #AprilRAoK
My daughter and I just went to the local fire house and dropped off some homemade brownies for the firefighters. Felt good. :) #AprilRAoK
Today was incredible! One of my students, Miriam, gave me all of her birthday money ($25) to donate to Charity:Water, and organization that builds wells in communities that have no access to clean water. The following week was our school book fair and she had no money to buy any items, but she told me it was okay, that the water was more important. I shared this on social media and many helped: donating to the charity in her name, and raising hundreds of dollars for Miriam to replace the $25 she so selflessly gave away (https://www.gofundme.com/maribel039s-surprise). Today she received her surprise! First, Miriam found out that others were impressed by her selflessness so much so that they donated to Charity:Water in her name. Next, she got to see the 45 second thank you video that Charity:Water made for her. Then, I gave her the check that so many made possible. She was shocked and ... Read Full Story >>
Was the recipient of a surprise act of kindness this holiday season. A friend of mine had seen me in the grocery store a month ago. The store is doing a promotion where you get stickers for every $10 you spend which can be used to "buy" kitchen items. She was ahead of me in line and the cashier asked if she was collecting the stickers. She looked back at me and asked if I was. I told her I was, so she collected them and gave them to me.
A few weeks later we got a Christmas card from their family and attached to it was a bunch of the stickers. Apparently, she continued to collect them for me and sent them for the holidays.
Not really random, but definitely a surprise that I appreciated.
At the beginning of the month I had purchased some banana chips, sunflower seeds and trail mix for today's opportunity.
As I was leaving a mall parking lot, I saw a woman and her dog. She was holding a sign: "Need work." I asked if she would like my items.
She was genuinely pleased and when she saw the trail mix, she told me it was her favorite.
Wished I'd had some dog food.
Went to the 99 Cent Store a week or so ago and stocked up a grocery bag with snacks, water and toiletries. Kept it in my car, until a couple days ago when I saw a guy on a freeway off ramp, holding a sign "Anything Helps".
I asked if my bag would help him, and he graciously said it would. Time to head back to the 99 Cent Store and make another bag.
I buy a lottery ticket every week in hopes of hitting the big jackpot. Today, I bought my ticket, then asked the cashier which scratcher is the luckiest. She told me so I bought it.
I asked, "So you think this one is lucky?"
She raised her hands to the sky as if saying, "Hope to God."
I put down a "Smile Card" a penny, and left the ticket. "I hope you are right," I said. "It's yours."
She was shocked. She gasped. "Really? Thank you."
I walked out and told her, "Good luck."
To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, Mary and I bought 5 scratchers [lottery tickets] and 5 Gerber Daisies. Then, we looked for couples out and about.
For each couple, we introduced ourselves and told them we were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary by spreading love and luck to other couples.
Reactions were great! Some were shocked at first, but everyone was smiling by the end. Gave our luck and love to couples who'd been married 23 years, 39 years, 48 year, and 59 years.
We also gave a set to our 18 year old daughter and her boyfriend. One couple wouldn't take the scratcher, but gladly took the flower, so we gave the scratcher to a woman with a sign reading "Anything helps."
What a wonderful way to share our celebration with others!
Today I went to McDonald's to buy a lunch for a student who earned it in my classroom. Out front was a man who was asking for spare change. I asked if he was hungry. He smiled and told me he was. I offered to buy him lunch.
He told me he wanted a cheeseburger, fries and a Coke. So, I bought my student's lunch as well as his, but when I walked out, he was gone. I looked all over, and he had left.
Then, I saw another man who looked like he might be down on his luck.
"I just bought this lunch for a guy," I told him. "But he left. Think you might want it?" the man was shocked and pleased. He took the food, thanked me, and we went our separate ways. Everything for a reason.
One of the top 3 most memorable days in my 20 years of education!
My class constructed their Sacks of Hope, a seven-month labor of love. Each "Sack" was actually three bags: one for the outdoors with a sleeping bag, socks, hand warmers, and a lantern, one with toiletries: comb, razor, wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, lotion and a bunch more, and the final was full of edibles: bars, tea, raisins, trail mix, and more. About 40 items per "Sack".
Best part: my students were so incredibly proud of what they had accomplished. The press came out. Fashion designer Cecilia Cassini celebrated them with a pizza party and her brand of t-shirts, but what affected the kids most was that they started with an idea and then made it a reality!
They may not remember me teaching them the difference between a subject and a predicate, but they will never forget how they helped those less fortunate than themselves.
Today was a gift. Since starting the 'Random Act of Kindness Challenge' in 2012, I have been a lot more aware of others and trying to be helpful.
My youngest daughter knows this, but has not seen it in action much. Today I took her on two errands and she saw me give a guy holding a "Hungry" sign a water bottle and bag of trail mix from my car's "Helper Bag". Then, we saw a dad and his two kids asking for help, and I bought them all sandwiches.
This was not all that miraculous, but I really appreciated my daughter's reaction. She said, "I know you say you do this kind of stuff, but it's amazing to actually watch it." I think this kind of modeling will lead to her helping others as well.
9 Ways to Introduce Students to Random Acts of Kindness - NEA Today
: A California educator offers his tips on spreading RAOK Month throughout the nationâs schools and classrooms.
I don't play the lottery scratchers, but when I went to my local gas station today, I asked the clerk which scratcher he thought was best. He told me "Set for Life". So, I bought two and gave one to him and the other to the other clerk. They were surprised. The second clerk asked, "What if we win?" I smiled and said, "That's the point." Then, I left them with big smiles.
Hoping they are winners! #AprilRAOK #BeKindToOneAnother
I try to keep a bag in my car with items for those who might be in need, but I ran out a few weeks ago.
I went to the 99 Cent Store yesterday to stock up. I made two bags in the parking lot with a few items: trail mix, dried pineapple, toothbrush, toothpaste, and bandages.
As I drove out, there was a man sitting with a sign that said anything would help. I told him I had a bag and told him what was in it, and asked if any of the items would be helpful.
He said anything would be great. When I gave him the bag, he was delighted. I guess he didn't expect to get all of the items. He thanked me a bunch. I told him we were meant to find each other that day.
I still have one bag left. Next time I need to remember to add water bottles and socks.
I was reading "Kindness Boomerang" (a book that gives ideas and inspirations of kindness for each day of the year), and I saw this one. I went to Amazon and found a random person's "Wish List" using this link.
Then, I was able to find an item, buy it and ship it to them, as well as leave a gift note. I don't know personal info about them, but their name and city.
Wish I could be a fly on the wall when they open the box.
Not sure how this qualifies for a RAOK, but I had to share. Two and a half years ago I gave this guy relationship advice. Today he made my day by getting back to me:
"Thank you for your brilliance. I initially wrote to you out of desperation when my girlfriend left me about two and a half years ago. I was blown away when I heard back from you! I figured you'd be just like everyone else and too busy for the little guy, but then you wrote me back. I just wanted to let you know that (my girlfriend) and I got back together, got married, and are expecting our first child in October. Thank you very much for your wisdom in each of your books. I'm currently reading 'A Labor with Love' for the second time."
I think I am the recipient of the act of kindness this time!