Archive | June 2012

Week 26: Manners

In this week we are looking at how we can initiate random acts of kindness just by refocusing on our everyday manners. It’s time to take what your mama taught you and put it into action!

Here are 5 ways to make a difference in someone’s day just from your good manners:

  1. Hold the door open for someone. There is nothing more frustrating than having the door slammed in your face and your spirits are always uplifted when someone thinks of you, too, and gives you an easy entrance.
  2. Smile! They’re contagious!
  3. Give someone your seat on the bus. See someone with their kid or kids? An older person with tired legs? Or just someone who needs a break in their day? Offer your seat to them to help them out.
  4. Let someone in line in front of you. Do you have a lot of groceries and the person behind you only has two? Let them go first and help them get on their way.
  5. Say hello. Let the people you run into know that their existence matters with a simple hello.

Week 25: Start the chain

These next four weeks may just be my favorite four weeks of the whole year to write about. That’s because for the next four weeks we will be having a theme of RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS! There is nothing better than that feeling when you do something nice for someone who can’t repay you. It’s like being a secret happiness agent. This theme incorporates all of my hopes and dreams for this 52 Weeks of Good campaign. Looking at the little things we can do every day to make a difference and random acts of kindness are pieces we can easily incorporate into our lives everyday!

“If we all do one random act of kindness daily we just might set the world in the right direction.”

For week 25 we will explore the idea of starting a random acts of kindness chain effect, starting with you! This is where you can take public opportunities to do something nice for someone and hope that they start the trend.

Here are 5 great ideas to get you started!

  1. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you. If no one is there, give the barista $5 to pay for the person after you.
  2. Talk with a homeless person. So many people walk past them and don’t even give them the time of day. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, just a simple hi, a smile and how is your day going? If you have a snack, share it with them. You will make their day better and hopefully inspire those who pass by to do the same.
  3. Give a stranger a compliment. It is always so unexpected and makes them feel great. With their brightened mood they will be sure to pass on their new found happiness.
  4. Leave a note on someone’s car (looking like a ticket under their wind shield wiper), but write a really positive comment on the paper. Wish them a good day and encouraging them to pass it along to spread the joy.
  5. Leave $20 with the cashier (at a grocery store, or a second hand clothing or furniture store) and ask them to use it on whomever they think could use the extra help. This gives the store clerk a chance to be part of the good. You might not only be making the receiver of the money’s day, but could be helping them with their months worth of groceries or new clothes for their kids.

I will leave you with this little video on a different perspective of security cameras:

What are your ideas for starting the kindness chain effect?

Guest post: When You Come To a Fork in the Road, Take It.

Today we have a guest post from a friend of mine who recently won the OPHA essay contest! The topic was health and the environment and her essay really helps you to take your health into perspective and find the little ways you can make a positive difference for yourself! Thank you Vera for all of the great ideas and information. Enjoy!

When You Come To a Fork in the Road, Take It.
By Vera Vos

The Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly lives in a small strip of coastal rainforest in Papua New Guinea. Its entire range is about 100 square miles. With a wing span just over 1 foot, the female Birdwing is the largest butterfly in the world. Their niche within the jungle ecosystem is very specific. Eggs are laid on the leaves of the pipevine plant which the caterpillars consume vigorously for about 1 month until they enter the pupa stage. Pipevine is poisonous and by eating the leaves the caterpillar incorporates poisons into its body making it, as well as the adult butterfly, toxic to most predators – a handy adaptation. Adult butterflies live at the top of the tree canopy seeking nectar from specific flowers that are large enough to hold their weight and breadth.

Unfortunately, three specific things have happened which has placed the Birdwing on the endangered species list. In 1950 nearby Mount Lamington erupted changing a large portion of their former range to a more diverse rainforest with fewer pipevines and fewer high canopy plant species bearing large flowers. Birdwings were not adaptable to these changed conditions. In the last several decades, many acres of their current range were converted to palm plantations, further depleting their habitat. Thirdly, because of its large size and rarity, the species is prized by collectors, adding a unique and very resourceful predator to the mix.

Coyotes are a very different kind of species than Birdwings. Despite habitat destruction and intense hunting pressure by humans, or maybe because of it, coyotes have expanded their range from mainly the southwest to almost the entire North American continent. They are predators with excellent hunting skills and the ability to learn new tricks to capture prey. But they also do fine eating spoiled meat left by other predators, plants, nuts or whatever their particular area has to offer. If their current habitat changes and no longer meets their needs, they move on. Where the Birdwing sees certain death outside their specific niche, the coyote sees opportunity. They are very adaptable.

As a species, humans are like coyotes, adaptable. We thrive on every continent in the world except Antarctica. If our current habitat no longer meets our needs for whatever reason – politics, religion, depleted soil, boredom, weather – we seek new lands to explore and inhabit. We also have an ability, unique to our species, to change our habitat to fit our needs. For example, early Americans burned the prairies to stimulate growth of young, nutritious grasses which increases game species. All over the world humans have converted a myriad of ecosystems into farmland to grow crops. Our ability to harness the environment to our benefit has led us from living in nomadic tribal communities to permanent villages, towns and cities. Read More…

Week 24: Expand your community

Today’s post is the last in this four weeks theme of creating a larger community. For week 24 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign we will  look at how we can reach and make a difference to people outside of the communities we’ve created. People we may never meet, but still people we can extend our helping hand to.

Online fudraising has been building steam and has become the new way to reach goals and connect with new people. You don’t even need to be part of a non-profit to jump on board! Have a film project you want to start? Need help raising money for your kids soccer team so all of the kids can get jerseys? Start an online campaign, send it out to everyone you know and ask them to send it out to everyone they know and see if you can reach your fundraising goal! Don’t have anything to post online, not a problem, there are hundreds of people who need your help! Here are some great site to check out to get started in making a small financial difference for you or someone you may never meet:

Start Some Good – a platform for social good initiatives to raise funds and grow a community of supporters.

Indiegogo – the world’s largest global funding platform. Founded on the principles of opportunity, transparency, and action, anyone with an idea can create a fundrasing platform.

KickStarter – the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

Want to reach beyond and help internationally? Kiva is a great organization that changes hundreds of lives around the world. Unlike the others listed above, Kiva is a micro-loan program so you can get your $25 back and reinvest if you would like. With Kiva you can see a return on your investment over time and keep on giving and helping. It is a win win for all. To learn more about Kiva, click here.

Don’t think you have any money to give? Try skipping your morning latte and donate $5 to someone else. We all have the ability to give, it just comes down to priorities and making concious choices.

Week 23: Positive Comment Week!

In an effort to build a larger, and stronger community we need to focus on being positive and sharing out positivity with others.

Write a positive comment today and every day this week! You can do this on your facebook page, sent in a tweet, in person, by sending someone a text message, an email, or leave positive comments around town on post-it notes. If you are using Twitter, use the hashtag #positivecomment. Let’s create a positive community, starting with today!

Your kind and uplifting words have the power to change someone’s day, week, or even life. When you’re positive, so are those around you. What’s stopping you?! Just go and do it!