Have you ever experienced a Random Act of Kindness? Have you ever done a Random Act of Kindness, or had someone give you a Random Act of Kindness?
A random act of kindness can be something small but thoughtful. You can let someone go in front of you in line at the grocery store. You can give someone change for a dollar. Or you can also do meaningful things for charitable organizations – such as giving canned goods to a soup kitchen, or coats for the homeless, or toys for disadvantaged children. There are many ways that you can perform a random act of kindness, often it just takes a little extra time or thought to do so.
Julie Kauffman has had many experiences with kindness. As someone who works at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, she is very experienced with kindness.
“I have experienced different acts of kindness. One of my favorites is hearing from people who appreciate what The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is doing. Those are great!,” said Kauffman. “On a more personal level, I had a friend volunteer to watch my cat for me while I was out of town. It was only supposed to be for a week, but I ended up being gone nearly a month due to my mother’s ill health. She watched the cat for the entire time – and she absolutely hates cats! I still can’t thank her enough.”
To pass the chain of kindness along, Kauffman also volunteers, she holds open doors for people, regularly gives up her seat on the train, thanks workers – especially wait staff and salesclerks, and she keeps a polite and positive attitude.
Random Act of Kindness Week this year is held from February 12th through February 18th. This week has been created by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation www.actsofkindness.org. Individuals, schools and organizations may choose to do different things to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week. At the website they list literally hundreds of ideas to inspire you for great random acts of kindness.
The week celebrating Random Acts of Kindness is also during the week of Valentine’s Day, and some schools may include Valentine’s Day as part of their celebration.
Random Acts of Kindness Week has been created to inspire those who may not already be aware of the idea of random acts of kindness the experience of joy and happiness of passing along random acts of kindness. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about kindness and to encourage people to daily give and receive kindness. It began in 1995 and this year will be the thirteenth annual Random Acts of Kindness Week.
According to Julie Kauffman at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, people plan many different activities to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week.
“Community activities include food drives for food panties; blanket/clothing drives for homeless shelters; community garage sales with proceeds benefitting a charity. Schools feature kindness in their lessons and daily announcements. Some decorate their halls with posters that include kindness sayings. Others have created a kindness tree or chain – each time a student does an act of kindness it is written on a paper ‘leaf’ or chain and hung on a wall. Students ‘caught’ being kind are entered into a drawing for a prize at the end of the week. Many more things!”
Kauffman has also heard of some creative ideas planned for the week of kindness. Some of her favorite ideas include a school that always had low participation for a canned food drive for a local charity. So they turned this into a contest for the students’ favorite musical groups, one can of food equaled one vote.
“Participation was overwhelming and the students really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved,” said Kauffman.
Other favorite kindnesses Kauffman has heard of include a Brownie Girl Scout Troop that made heart shaped pillows for a breast cancer project and also wrote letters to soldiers overseas. A gentleman who owns a real estate company created a thirty foot banner and put it in front of their office facing the highway. The banner said “Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week”. He also held a barbeque for volunteer firefighters.
Kauffman is quick to point out that Random Acts of Kindness can be quick, simple and easy things that you can do with little planning. Here are some of her favorite ideas:
Hold a door open for someone.
Write a thank you note to someone who helped you or made a difference in your life.
Call an old friend.
Buy the person behind you in line’s coffee, lunch or toll
Tell your co-workers you appreciate them and give examples why.
Volunteer to read to students or at a nursing home.
Shovel a neighbor’s walk.
Smile at people on the street.
Tell your family and friends you love them.
Watch for opportunities to be kind in your daily life and act on them.
“To get involved in Random Acts of Kindness Week – do an act of kindness! It’s that simple. One of the great things about kindness is it doesn’t take forethought or planning to do something that matters to someone else. For more suggestions, visit our website at www.actsofkindness.org. Specifically check out our Ideas for Individuals and Groups Activity Guide. It has hundreds of ideas!,” said Kauffman.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation would love to hear from people about the acts of kindness they have done and received. All of the materials we offer on our website have come from submissions that people have given us. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800/660-2811. You can also visit them at the www.actsofkindness.org.
Kindness has great value. Kauffman believes that kindness is fundamental to human experience and is essential to the success of human relationships.
“We all need kindness shown to us, and we all need to express it. Kindness connects us to one another and inspires hope within us. Additionally, one of the great things about kindness is that it benefits both the giver and receiver. No one walks away from an exchange of kindness untouched,” said Kauffman.
A random act of kindness is any act on a person’s part that helps someone else. An act of kindness does not have to be large or detailed. It does not have to be pre-planned. The Foundation supports both planned and un-planned acts of kindness. The word “random” encourages us to look beyond our circle of friends and family. It is sometimes those completely unexpected gestures to or from total strangers that have the most impact on our lives,” said Kauffman.