Random acts of kindness can reach all groups of people. You are able to affect those closest to you, friends and family, people you may never meet or see affected by this, or even people who may never be able to return the favor. In week 27, we are going to focus on helping those with kindness who are not able to help you.
The homeless are often those who are overlooked and could really benefit from your random acts of kindness. Really step out of your comfort zone and interact with them. This interaction could be as simple as a “Good morning” as you walk by them on your way to work, or if you are standing with them at a bus stop, ask them how they are doing. Something as simple as a conversion says you know they are not invisible. You might be surprised by the stories they share!
I tend not to give money to those in need that ask for money on the street corner. You never know what that money could be used for and it might not be helping them at all. There are some people who are not as truthful about their situation as it appears. A friend of mine sat down and had a long conversation with one of her local homeless resident and it turned out he wasn’t homeless at all, but takes the role of it and people give him money. It’s ironic because people give the homeless money to feel good about themselves, never questioning what giving them money will really do. If you are going to give money, find your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to donate to. In my opinion, the people who frequent these places are attempting to turn their lives around and the organizations need your help to help others who really need help.
Personally, if there is someone outside of a grocery store and I am heading in, I’ll come out with an extra sandwich for them. Then at least I know they won’t be hungry and I have done what I can, knowing my money has gone to a good and positive resource. I once talked to someone who gives out chocolate bars instead of cash. She has her car stocked. I love this idea.
Don’t feel like you can help? Are you getting coffee this morning? Then you have the ability to get a coffee or a sandwich for the person standing outside who doesn’t have the means to buy their own.
Help someone who may never be able to return the favor to you, but know what goes around, comes around in some way or another.
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.
In week 14 of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign, we will be looking at the feelings aspect of empathy. And more specifically: compliments. I will do my best to tone down the kum-ba yah of this post, but if you’re singing and holding hands by the end of this, I’ll be happy. You’ve been warned.
There are a few old sayings: “Treat others as you’d like to be treated,” “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you,” “What you do to others will be done to you.” Etc. Etc. However many times you’ve heard these sayings, they are still as true as the first day you heard them. Take a moment and think about what they mean.
Respect one another.
If you find yourself swearing at someone, think if you would like it if that person swore at you. If you are about to be violent with someone, take a moment and step into their shoes to see if you’d really want to be hit. If you answered “no I wouldn’t” to any of these, chances are they aren’t going to like what you’re about to do to them, either. If you are having a bad day and don’t think your attitude affects anyone else, guess again! Your mood and how you treat someone else greatly affects the people around you. Every day you have the power to change someone’s day and effect their life. It is a large responsibility, but here is a simple way you can make your impact.
Give someone a compliment every day.
Think about how good you feel when someone walks by you on the street and says how much they love your coat, or a co-worker says you look great today or how much you rock, or when your significant other reminds you how radiant they think you are. Compliments are powerful. They are capable of changing someone’s whole day around. You are capable of changing someone’s day around.
Now go do it.
After spending some time with different animal shelters, foster programs and animal help clinics, I ran across this organization in Chicago: One Tail at a Time. They are a non-profit foster program that is a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue program. Their mission is to: “lower euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area and provide education on the humane treatment of companion animals. The rescue concentrates its efforts on dogs that are in danger of being euthanized, or those that are physically and/or mentally deteriorating in a shelter environment, works to rehabilitate them, and then matches each dog with a permanent home. Focused on keeping pets as a part of our family, One Tail at a Time offers fosters and adopters continued support and education on how best to keep dogs happy, healthy and part of the family.” Many programs try their best to get the animals adopted, but don’t spend a lot of time to make sure the family is a good fit for the dog or provide the continued support.
What is very unique about this dog foster program is they pay for everything a person needs (food, medical, dog walkers, daycare, etc.) to ensure all the dogs in their program are being well taken care of. They also don’t go out and pick the best of the best animals from the shelters for quick adoption turn-around. They find the best in all dogs and try to give as many of them a chance at a better second life. If for some reason the adoption isn’t a good fit, they will take the dog back into their program, in fact they prefer it, to ensure that dog finds the best family for them as possible. Even if years after a dog is adopted and the family can no longer keep the dog, One Tail at a Time will take the dog back into their program and find it a new, happy home. Read More…
For the next four weeks of the 52 Weeks of Good campaign, we will be focusing on Empathy. Experiencing the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another can help you step into their shoes and treat them how you wish to be treated.
For week 13 we will look into the experience portion of empathy. Our daily habits. Here are a three key points to help you experience empathy:
- Practice patience – Most of our outbursts of rage or anger usually stems from quick moments that frustrate us. We have our outbursts, we shake it off and we move on, but how often do we think about how our outburst effected the other person, usually a stranger, that was also involved? Take driving for example. You get cut off, blaze your horn, step on the gas, swerve around them giving them the bird as you pass fly by. Maybe you think this helps you feel better for a moment, but what did you really achieve? Revenge, making your point, letting the other person know that that pissed you off? Not at all. All you really were successful in is making that person feel terrible. Nine times out of ten that person made a mistake; they didn’t mean to cut you off because they didn’t see you. Next time you are about to siren your horn or dabble in a little road rage, practice patience. You never know what is going through that other persons mind or what is going on in their world. Maybe they just learned their husband or wife has cancer. What if they were just laid-off from their job and are struggling to figure out how to feed their four kids. By practising patience, you can take a deep breath and let their mistake go. And swearing at them in your car is just as bad as letting them know you are angry by their mistake. Swearing at someone, even if they don’t hear it, only puts bad energy on them, almost like giving them a curse. It’s not good. It also isn’t good for you, either. Give them the benefit of the doubt and carry on with your day. In fact by practising empathy, you may make their day by letting their mistake go. Read More…
Part of being aware about those around you is to know what is happening in your communities (the good and the not so great). It is easy to say that you’re not doing anything about the issues in your communities because you don’t know what is going on, but let’s be honest, that is just an excuse. How easy it is to see a problem and not do anything about it because you don’t know where to find the solution or you just hope someone else will fix it. How many times have you driven around that pot hole? You’ve assumed someone has called it in, but chances are, everyone else is thinking the same thing as you. The same goes for how much trash you see on the street, homeless people you walk by begging for your spare change and the amount of graffiti defacing the city walls.
It’s time to step-up and start to learn more about what goes on in your area. Attend village, town, or city meetings. Get on the email lists of the neighborhood news. Learn about what the local non-profits are doing to try to improve your area and figure out ways you can help them. You don’t always have to donate your time or money to a non-profit (although, if you can, it is a HUGE help to them as most non-profits couldn’t run without the help of their volunteers). Sometimes a non-profit just needs some extra supplies to cut down on their admin costs or are looking for other types of donations. Sometimes learning about an organization and spreading the word about it to your friends could be a huge help. Maybe you don’t have the time, but your neighbor does and they would really like to get involved.
As important as it is to help those in need around the world, it is also important to make sure your community has what it needs to be a safe, healthy and sustainable.
Not sure how you can get involved? Here are a few resources that might help you get started:
Directory of charities and non-profits in your zip code: http://www2.guidestar.org/NonprofitDirectory.aspx
Seattle City Council: http://www.seattle.gov/council/ (don’t live in Seattle? Just google “City Council” and your city name)
Get Involved: http://www.getinvolved.gov/
Yesterday, I spent 3 hours of my working day at Brown Paper Tickets to wrap presents for families in need of an extra hand for the holidays. There is an organization called Rise n’Shine that helps families in need all year round. “At Rise n’ Shine we provide emotional support, stability and advocacy for children and teens affected by AIDS. This includes those who have been orphaned, children and teens who are infected themselves and those who live with a parent or sibling with HIV/AIDS. We offer support through the Mentor Program, Summer Camp, Peer Support Groups, Children’s AIDS Memorial Grove, and Teen Retreats.”
With Christmas a few days away, they have put together a huge toy drive to make sure the kids have presents to open up on Christmas day. Each child was asked for 4 wants and 4 needs for what they wanted Santa to bring them this year. Then shoppers went out and found the items on the lists to the best of their abilities. We wrapped everything from new board games to jeans, and new warm coats to a big pink plush pillow. What a great day to spend at “work.”