How did you hear about us? My Friend handed me a card. What inspired you to join? The joy of doing good things. --Joshua, in New York This is my second time emailing you. First, I only asked for a few cards to try this at our school and the response has been great. Both teachers and students have been coming to my office in the Guidance, where I am Academically Gifted Resource Teacher, asking for more cards and wanting to join in this game. Also, some were quite excited when they had been tagged. Your cards really brighten our school days. If you could send us some more to brighten our already sunny days in North Carolina, we would appreciate it very much. Many thanks to you from all of us at Lufkin Road Middle School. We are getting ready to take the EOG's this month and could use some extra acts ... Read Full Story >>
Some deeds are big some are small, but the point is for us to think of other people. I want to share the lovely feeling of joy on being around a bunch of 4 year olds for whom I was a complete stranger yet felt so bonded by my presence and connection. Early this week, I offered to do some ‘story time reading’ at a local preschool. The kids and teachers were very excited about it. It was wonderful to be around these incredible kids who all picked their favorite storybooks for me to read. Due to time constraint, I could only read few books but promised the other kids to read them their favorite story the next time. I already made 2 trips to the school to keep my promise and looking forward to more! I was thinking of ways to show my appreciation to the teachers and staff of an ... Read Full Story >>
My daughter's birthday is May 29. She was 6 by then. As it was Monday, we prefered to celebrate it earlier, i.e. on Saturday 27 May. This was easier for me as I'm free on Saturdays. On Thursday the entire family was busy packing the presents and putting funny pins on them. I promised my litte princess that I would wake her up early in the morning and distribute the presents to her classmates. I woke up at 05:30. After I took a bath, I planned to wake her up ... but.... as I came out from the bathroom, I realized that an earthquake struck. I screamed to wake my husband up and asked him to carry my daughter; and ran out of our house. We were watching our house swaying from outside. It happened for just 3 minutes, but... the piano thumbled down, tiles came down, some cracks appeared ... Read Full Story >>
At Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organization in India, it’s a common site to see people come in asking to see Jayeshbhai (one of the Founders). One day, I was milling around when I saw an elderly man come in using a walking stick. It was obvious that the man was blind and as I went to him to offer my assistance, I found out that he was blind in both eyes. The man’s sons did not take care of the man, so he lived with his brother’s sons. Everything was fine at home, but the man did not want to be a financial burden on others. He wanted to support himself through his own sweat and effort. He could do the rope work for wooden bed frames and knew such a business in Palitana would do well. In order to start this business however, ... Read Full Story >>
I am a middle school counselor. Earlier this week, I had a very caring, compassionate student tell me about a project she has undertaken. She said she has started a collection for supplies for the troops to make their holiday's more joyful. I asked her what organization she was doing this through and she was confused by my question. Finally, she said, "No, see my sister who is in 5th grade and I are doing this on our own!" I was amazed that they had thought this up on their own. I asked their mother about it and she said that they had come to her to tell her about it.
I was happy to help her. I told her to put a box in the main office with a sign and a list of supplies (which she had already typed up!). She brought the box in the next day and students have already begun to add to it.
What a beautiful thing these kids are doing. I am so proud of them!
I just finished my Human Services practicum and as much as I loved the class and the instructor, I was dissapointed with my classmates. It was a small class - just 12 of us - and the other students took advantage of the instructor's kindness with late work, excuses for not completing assignments, etc. During the last 3 weeks of class, she was expressing her dissatisfaction and how she was going to have to re-think how she taught the class next semester. I really felt bad for her as she is a great inspiration to me and I could relate to her pain. In Chicken Soup for the Soul, there is a story about two guys walking down the beach covered with starfish. One guy is throwing the starfish back into the ocean as they walk. The other guy says "There are thousands of them you can't possibly make a difference." At that ... Read Full Story >>
Do you remember the name of your kindergarden teacher? I do, mine. Her name was Mrs White. And I remember thinking she must be some older relation of Walt Disney's Snow White, because she had the same bright blue eyes, short dark hair, red lips and fair skin. I don't remember much about what we learned in her class, but my mother once told me that we used to write a lot. And I would bring back what I wrote and she would look at it and see there were so many mistakes. But no red corrections. And always a star. Sometimes even a Good! scrawled in that would make my heart soar with happiness. But it worried my mother, so one day when she went in to meet Mrs White for one of those Parent-Teacher meetings, she asked her why she never corrected my mistakes. Why she never red-pencilled ... Read Full Story >>
Last week, I did a little experiment. Instead of holding class during a holiday week, I didn't show. Except that I left a tote bag on the door of class in the engineering building, with a bunch of Smile Cards and $200 in $10 bills. And this note: Hey, That's the way many of the email messages I receive begin. It's a handy shorthand solution to the question of how to greet someone you know but don't know. Others--many fewer--begin with the word "Dear." It's a holdover from the time when we wrote actual personal letters. I still like that, and treasure the rare gift of a personal, handwritten note almost as much as an authentic conversation about something more than a transaction issue, like a grade, a missed assignment, an evaluation of some kind--criticism or praise included. So my preference is to start with Dear... Would you read this aloud to everyone else ... Read Full Story >>
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she ... Read Full Story >>
I went to visit my parents this past holiday weekend. During the trip, we went to visit my ailing uncle. He was in the hospital due to a heart attack. It was the second heart attack he had in the last four months and this time the doctors said it is really quite serious. The whole family has been wishing him thoughts and blessings of healing since he is the eldest one in our family and particularly because we hope he can live to see his son's upcoming wedding which is scheduled for next month. As I looked at the situation with all of its uncertainty, I began to think about the life this man lead. He is 60 years old. He has spent his whole life teaching low-income inner city school children whose families are primarily broken, that these youngsters have hope, because hope is priceless. When I went to see him one last time before I left to head back to my home, I brought my uncle a fruit basket with ... Read Full Story >>
A professor I have worked pretty closely with has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It has been devastating for his family and heartbreaking for his students. What made him extraordinary was not only that he was a phenomenal rising star. He had only recently collected the highest honours for young researchers at the White House. We truly admired him for his inspiring personality - as someone put it, "He always has a smile and a kind word for everyone." It is very hard to find someone who is exceptionally intelligent and also a wonderful , humble human being. My professor's family of four (beautiful, sweet children all under ten) and lovely,generous-spirited wife (who is expecting the fifth), along with their deep spiritual faith has been a continual source of joy for him. All this made us, his students, even more shocked and heartbroken when we found out his cancer was terminal ... Read Full Story >>
It is wonderful to be in the moment and thank those around us for helping. Sometimes, it is nice to reflect on those who have been in our lives a long time ago and whose actions or words shaped us and influenced who we are today. One such person for me was my 7th grade biology teacher. His class was "the one" that sparked my interest in cell biology and literally determined the course of my career from the tender age of 12. I will never forget him. Well, fast-forward many years later (about 20 actually), and I was at a crossroads deciding what to do... and I decided upon teaching college biology! I wrote my teacher a long letter, describing my career path, life choices and what I was going to do, and of course the letter was a BIG thank you note to him for getting me started. He actually ... Read Full Story >>
Every year while I was in high school we organized a class retreat. It always involved some sort of service component – usually going to an elementary school or helping out at a nursing home. The class would vote on the type of project we wanted to do, and then our Campus Ministry Coordinator would organize the project, transportation, dates, and specific location. For our senior year, our class voted to volunteer at a soup kitchen so our CM Coordinator, Mrs. Krupitzer, set up a date for us to go to Gleaners Food Bank. We arrived on a Saturday morning, ready to prepare food and serve meals, wipe down tables, and clean dirty dishes. When we got off the bus, the food bank organizer took us on a tour of the facility. Then he turned around and said, “okay it’s time for lunch everybody!” Unbeknownst to us we would be eating ... Read Full Story >>
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class ... Read Full Story >>
My teenage daughter has always taken special delight in receiving anything in the mail. She squeals with glee and rips open every envelope and package the moment she takes it in her hands. A few nights ago, when we were sorting through a basket of cards and stationery, she discovered an unopened, brightly colored envelope addressed to her, bearing a postage date of over four years ago. "What is this?" she asked, incredulous. "How did I miss this? How did it get here?" I had idea and was just as curious to see what it could have been. She opened it up and inside was a beautiful greeting card and hand-written note from a school administrator at her former middle school. The woman had written a note to my daughter in praise of how much progress she had shown with her struggle in math class, and it noted how proud she was and how much my daughter should take pride in what she ... Read Full Story >>
I had a dream for over a year, to attend the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. I had even reserved a hostel room a year in advance because I so wanted to be there. I had worked very hard to arrange things, but was having trouble raising money for the trip. I asked one of my MBA professors who is connected in investing circles to ask, if I were to write an appeal letter, would he please send it to his contacts? He apologized, because he said there is not much money available right now because of the economy. Then he paused, and asked me where I was flying from. When I told him, he asked me if he could help me out with flight miles to Copenhagen for the trip. I was awestruck by the offer. I hurried to tell him that I had not mentioned this to ask ... Read Full Story >>
My seven year old son Nicholas came home from school one day and in the context of our usual "How was school?" chat he told me about one of his classmates who had asked him to share his snack with him in a somewhat forceful way. After this chat, as a room mother, I had the chance to better observe the boy concerned. I saw he never had a snack and was often dirty, so I understood a bit more his situation. From that point on I sent extra crackers, etc., everyday and Nicholas made a point of sitting next to the boy at snack time so he could share - telling the boy I always gave him too much. After this we realized he was unable to pay for field trips and the teacher was doing this for him. We secretly got involved with that also, making sure he was in our group for ... Read Full Story >>
I teach a sixth grade religion class, and today I played the Smile Deck game with my students. They each left with two kind acts to complete and were very enthusiastic as I handed them regular Smile Cards to go along with the Smile Deck Cards.
One student was able to complete one of her acts that day itself, when class ended. She held the door for those leaving the building, handing out Smile Cards to those who would take them. It was uncomfortable for her at first (12 years old is an awkward age, at best), but she got the hang of it and started to enjoy her 15 minutes as 'Door Woman'!
I am excited to hear about how the other children's acts of kindness go.
I hope that my take on the ways we can “take care of God's creation” will sink into these kids, and they will carry forward the idea of embracing kindness as a meaningful part of life.
This is just the beginning for me!! Thanks for the forum of inspiration!
My favorite teacher plays a game with us at least once a week called "Appreciations". In this game, one person throws a ball to another person in the class who he would like to appreciate. Usually, we thank other kids for saying "hi" in the halls or hanging out on the weekend. Today, however, the first appreciation was very deep, and the receiver began to cry. Afterward, we continued to go deeper and deeper, and our teacher decided to hold off on the lesson we were supposed to learn today. Instead, she had us all make envelopes to put on our desk (like on Valentines Day in grade school) :) After that, we spent the full hour writing a note to every single person in the class about anything we wanted to tell them. The comments made me smile so much that my mouth hurt and some of then even made me cry! It just ... Read Full Story >>
My friend and I had an assignment for one of our classes to do a random act of kindness and write and essay about the experience. We were inspired to take the assignment even farther and turned it in to a kindness project to recognise people who serve our community. We scoped out a number of places where people serve the community in our town. Then we baked (and baked) for 6 hours: cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, and brownies. When we were done baking, we began dropping them off. We went to two fire-stations, a hospital, the post office, the police department, and we even chased down some bus drivers for three blocks :) Everyone's reactions were just amazing. The bus drivers hugged us and were on the verge of tears. Everybody was so thankful when it was us thanking them for what they do. Policemen and women, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, firefighters - these are the people who ... Read Full Story >>
As a substitute teacher, my daily routine invoves driving to a new school almost every day so I'm usually unable to anticipate the days events, good or bad! On one particular day, I was teaching in a very difficult classroom. I was managing behaviour all morning and by lunch time, I knew I needed a coffee to even consider surviving the afternoon. So on my lunch break, I drove to a nearby plaza to get a coffee. Upon returning to the car I realized I had locked my keys and my phone inside! I had about 15 minutes to get back to the school which was a good four or five-minute drive away. I contemplated sprinting back, but it being winter, I thought a nasty fall on ice would only make the situation that much worse. So I ran into a McDonald's which was in the same plaza and asked the man ... Read Full Story >>
We homeschool our children so we sometimes have the flexibility of adjusting our schedule to fit in special things. Today, as part of our 'Kindness Klub' we decided we would head out for an afternoon of giving back. Each of my kids chose from a list of kind things that they wanted to do. I ran down to the local store, picked up a few potted flowers and attached Smile Cards. We then put a few dollars in a plastic bag with a Smile Card. Before we set off on our mission, we read a verse from the Bible about kindness and said a prayer that our efforts would be well-received and help brighten someone's day! First, we stopped off at the local bus stop. We taped the plastic bag to a post inside the bus stop and quickly left ;) Second, my 10 year old daughter said she had seen a house she wanted to drop her flowers off at. She directed me to it. ... Read Full Story >>
I've mainly been using my smile cards in paying for the person behind me at the Burger King and McDonald's drive-thrus that I go to. However, sometimes I find myself yearning to be more creative with them. I have over 250 of them to distribute since I "made" my own and ordered them through a website that prints and ships out custom cards. I have decided to bring kindness to the staff and students at the school where I work. I will keep my eyes and ears open to see whose day could use a smile. I'm sure I'll get to everyone sooner or later or better yet, everyone who receives smile cards will eventually be able to help out and spread the smiles with me. Today, I enlisted another co-worker to anonymously deliver a smile to my first recipient. She was more than happy to be included and said she just loved things like ... Read Full Story >>
In early December, I had a fun idea. I thought it would be a good idea to provide care packages for my students who were heading into their final exams. I teach two classes at CWRU in Ohio, which is a difficult, research oriented, private school.I also teach two classes at Tri-C, a community college made up of more mature college students who worked and had families. They had their own stresses. I found this site, HelpOthers.org and the kindness contest, and wrote in with my idea to use the $100 to provide care packages for my students. Before I even knew if I would win the kindness contest, I spent $50 of my own cash. I used it to get the supplies for my CWRU students' care packages. I pondered this for awhile before I did it, because $50 is a lot of money to me, but it quickly became an obsession. I decided to do it ... Read Full Story >>
Jeff Rupp, beloved teacher at Fullerton High School, and his daughter Sarah Dear Mr. Rupp, The day I met you was the first day of high school. I walked into your class with a t-shirt that said, “supermodels suck,” and you were rocking a ponytail and had your Harley parked next to your desk. We liked each other immediately. You gave me a lot of advice over the next four years, like how I should get my ass to Berkeley where I belonged. I’m still there, by the way. I wish you were still around too. I remember your full-sleeve tattoos, which the school made you hide even in the blazing heat of summer. They were always there under your blue denim shirt and leather vest combo, and you were more than happy to tell us the story of each one, like constellations etched in ink instead of stars. I remember your laugh, which ... Read Full Story >>
Ethan is six and three quarters and Emily just turned seven, and they are best friends. Their pre-school teacher, Kathleen Albert, has been teaching them about kindness. So, for their graduation project, Ethan and Emily decided to raise money to help feed hungry people by collecting cans. When they were done, they had raised 5,304 dollars for the San Francisco Food Bank - enough money for 15,912 meals!
I teach first-grade children and the 100th day of our school year is approaching soon. This is a big math day with lots of activities centered around 100. Last year I connected the 100th day to kindness and I have just kicked off the same project today with my current class. We had been talking about Martin Luther King Jr and his dreams of peace and kindness. His birthday was approaching so we talked about acts of kindness we could do at home or in school, then I challenged the children to do 100 random acts of kindness from Doctor King's birthday until our 100th day of school. The children were so excited to get started. Today was the official day to begin. We finished the day with 10 acts of kindness recorded. Parents emailed with comments about how great the project idea was and shared how their child helped a new ... Read Full Story >>
Happy weekend, RAOKtivists! It's Kindness Ninja Saturday!! My sweet class of 23 second graders absolutely love sneaking out of our classroom and performing acts of kindness. We call ourselves the Kindness Classroom and we are Kindness Ninjas! The Kindness Ninjas' favorite RAOK was hiding bottles of bubbles around the playgrounds.
The past two Fridays, the Kindness Ninjas have made positive post-it notes for their friends as well as for some anonymous recipients. A big ninja snuck around after school and put some of these on teachers' classroom doors!
So....take it from the Kindness Ninjas...
Be kind. Be nice. Be sweet. And, never forget that together we can be the change we wish to see in the world!
Today, a friend of mine was being picked on for always wearing the same sweater so I told the bully to stop, and he eventually did. Also, the class was being really rude to our teacher, so I told the teacher that no matter what, I was so appreciative that he was our teacher.
I just believe that it's nice to let people know how special they are and that they should never let themselves get down, because it's nice to know that you're appreciated for being just who you are. <3 (:
Lately, I have been having an unusual amount of anxiety. It has been affecting my personal life as well as my abilities to perform well in school. I have been subjecting myself to an unhealthy amount of criticism and having a difficult time staying positive.
Today, an amazing woman I have looked up to since I began studying engineering assured me that this is not uncommon for women in general and especially in a field as male-dominated as engineering.
She reminded me of the importance of being proud of myself and what I've accomplished and to not let every little bump in the road steer me off course. She helped me see what is important. I hope that in the future I can remember this and learn to be patient with myself, staying calm rather than becoming anxious.