A Starfish On The Beach
--by Quadgrama, posted Mar 27, 2014
When I first submitted my idea to the Kindness Contest, my plan was to implement a kindness day at our local hospital. This was to entail buying some parking tokens and giving them out, taping some ziplock bags of coins to the vending machines in the Emergency waiting area, buying a hardworking nurse or two some lunch, delivering some snacks & baking to the palliative care family meeting rooms. I still plan to do some of these in the future, but for now my plans had to change.
When KindSpring.org contacted me and told me that that they had chosen my idea I was packing to head south for a few months (we are snowbirds) I told them that I would check out the local hospital in Lake Havasu City to see if they would allow me to carry out my plan. When I arrived in Lake Havasu I visited the hospital and the ladies I spoke with thanked me for thinking of their facility, but there was going to be a lot a red tape involved to get me access to all of the areas I needed. Instead they suggested the Polidori (hospice) House & Hospice of Havasu.
This turned out to be a great idea. I met with a lovely lady named Beth at the Polidori House, she was excited that I had ended up there. She mentioned that they were implementing some cutbacks and trying to do more with less budget and also that they had just received an email from their supervisor about how kindness is so important at times like this and to remember to treat your coworkers with extra kindness as it trickles all the way down to the patients and their families. Then in I come wanting to do a Random Act of Kindness for them, what timing!
One of her most important points was how critical the volunteers are to the whole Hospice operation. After meeting with Beth the first thing I did was bake some treats for the visitors & staff to enjoy. The following week I dropped off some more baking and some donations of juice boxes, hot chocolate, fruit cups, nuts and crackers. Some of these were purchased and baked by my friends at the Havasu RV Resort. My priority was still to do something to honour the volunteers. Beth gave me contact info for Mary at Hospice of Havasu, who coordinates the volunteers.
My idea was to put on an ice cream social to reward the volunteers for their service. Mary was excited to learn about my winning a kindness contest on Kindspring.org and thought the timing was perfect as they were already planning an appreciation luncheon for the volunteers. Her theme for the luncheon was Starfish. This was taken from the old legend about a man who comes upon thousands of starfish stranded on the beach after the tide goes out. Another man sees him gently tossing them back into the sea. He then asks the first man why he is bothering as he surely can’t save them all. The first man holds up the one starfish in his hand and says to the other man, “I may not be able to save them all, but I have made a difference to this one”.
Mary wanted to use the starfish story to get the idea across to the volunteers of how much they are appreciated and of what a difference each volunteer makes in someone’s life. So while part of my Kindspring budget was spent on purchasing ice cream for the luncheon, I wanted to do something more personal for each volunteer. I came up with the idea to purchase some art supplies and to paint starfish on smooth rocks that they could use to decorate the tables and then each volunteer could take one home with them.
Now part of my story has to include some more of the ladies at the Lake Havasu RV Resort. Smooth rocks are a bit hard to come by in the desert and I was having trouble finding the 100+ that I needed for my project. When I mentioned to my friend Coco what I was doing for hospice she decided to help out. She took the bull by the horns and along with her trusty sidekick Lorraine went out to purchase more rocks for me. When they mentioned it was for a project for Hospice, one of the yard workers overheard them & offered to pay for the rocks, however when he went to pay for them he was turned down because the owner decided to donate them. Thanks to Arizona Decorative Rocks. Then Coco offered to help get a group together to paint with me. This was great. We had a fun afternoon and got a great start on the project. Thanks ladies
The rocks went over so much better than I even thought they would. We decorated the tables with the rocks, the smile cards I had brought with me as well as a few seashells that Mary supplied. The volunteers as well as the hospice employees all thought they were great and I received many compliments and hugs at the luncheon that afternoon.
I was asked to say a few words so I first thanked them for allowing me this chance to participate in their appreciation luncheon. Then I expressed my awe at being in the company of so many incredible and giving people. I mentioned the kindness contest and that they should check out Kindspring.org and that the smile cards were also there for them to take.
The rest of my budget went to creating a lasting reminder for the Hospice of Havasu office. I purchased an old unfinished cabinet door from a local shop and along with a few more supplies I was able to customize it into an inspiring chalkboard to spread the message of kindness. I wrote “One Kind Word Can Change Someone’s Entire Day” on it. Then I presented it to Mary and entrusted her with the job of updating it weekly with a new inspiring message. I want to say” thanks” to Kindspring.org for choosing my idea and for also allowing me to change it when I needed to. Thanks also for your patience as this took much longer to pull off than I anticipated.