Kelle shovels snow regularly for her disabled neighbor. Though disabled herself, she is committed to helping others, especially anyone she considers worse off than herself. Kelle is one of 50,000 people who subscribe to the daily tweets of the Random Acts of Kindness Organization, and her testimonial can be found on its website.
"Living on hardly anything a month is tough, but helping each other when needed is the most gratifying thing people can do for each other," Kelle writes. "I wish that idea would be paid forward through all the community."
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2000, which acts as a resource for people committed to spreading kindness. According to the foundation's website, it inspires people to practice kindness and to pass it on to others as well. The foundation provides free educational and community ideas, guidance, and other resources to its kindness participants through its website at www.actsofkindness.org.
The organization celebrated "Random Acts of Kindness Week" from Feb. 14-20, with the Extreme Kindness Challenge. The challenge of this week was to inspire daily acts of kindness all week. The first day of the week began with writing a note to someone you love. The challenge for the second day was to smile at 10 strangers. The third extreme challenge was to hold open the door for someone every chance you get.
The fourth day challenge was to bring a treat to your work/school or someone in your neighborhood, and the rest of the days inspired people to carpool or help pay someone's cab, metro or subway fare, or donate time, items or cash to the organization of their choice. The Extreme Kindness Challenge ended with the message to pass it on.
The spirit of giving not only benefits the receivers but also people who practice these acts. "Evidence suggests that random acts of kindness creates what's been called the ‘helper's high'—a profound sense of well-being and optimism," said Larry Dossey, M.D., former co-chair of the National Institutes of Health Panel on Mind/Body Intervention and author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things, writes Leslie Pepper in Random Acts of kindness in www.hearthealthyonline.com.
According to Pepper, the Corporation for National Service, using health and volunteering data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that states with a high volunteer rate had lower rates of heart disease this year.
These simple things, which we do not even consider incorporating in our daily lives, can make a lot of difference. Random acts of kindness can be practiced not just this week but also every day. The sheer pleasure of helping others cannot be forgotten, even though we need to stand out for ourselves in this fast-paced society.
The students at North Lake College have their own opinions on the practice of random acts of kindness and the random acts of kindness week. "Random acts of kindness is displaying nice gestures and common decency, and being cordial," said Khan Lee, student at NLC. "But to declare a week for random act of kindness defeats the purpose of random."
Approximately 250 employees participated in the Day of Service on Feb. 18. "Good People Doing Good Things" was NLC'S theme. According to the DCCCD website, some volunteers helped clear trails, and worked on rebuilding a decaying creek bridge at Coppell Nature Park, and some travelled to Travis Middle School to help decorate the school's library wall with painted inspirational quotation chosen by the principal. Others helped create practical, yet beautiful items of comfort for people in need.
NLC also inspires students to help others through Service-Learning. Service-Learning is program that will help students learn and develop through thoughtfully organized service experience meeting real community needs. "Give a little. Get a lot back" is the motto of the Service-Learning program.