I am continuously amazed with the selfless acts performed by others, and know that hearing them can help inspire others. I am collecting those stories as I talk to people around the country. Please add your stories of hope, courage and change to those below.
SPECIAL! Don’t Change The Channel in the Classroom
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AnneLeigh came home from school with a parent permission slip to attend the Second Grade African Fundraiser at her school. The school began a connection a few years ago with an orphanage in South Africa called TLC Children’s Home. The deal is… 2nd Graders pay $10 and they get to spend an evening with their classmates learning more about Africa through music, dancing, art & games (while chowing on pizza, drinks & cookies). Their teachers did encourage the students to earn his/her donation through chores, helping out a neighbor, etc.
We were sharing an after school snack of popcorn, chatting about how AnneLeigh might earn her money. She said, “This popcorn is so yummy, maybe we could sell it.” And so it began…
Her initial goal was to sell 20 bags at 50-cents each == equaling her $10 donation. Then, she thought maybe she could sell 25 bags to earn a little extra for the orphanage. We made a sign-up sheet, attached it to a clipboard and sent her off to school the next morning… unsure of how this project might be received.
When I picked her up from school that afternoon she said, “Momma, I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that everyone loved the idea of the popcorn fundraiser. The bad news is that I sold 186 BAGS OF POPCORN!!! I am sooooo sorry!”
After nearly wrecking my car, I told her not to worry we were not upset, but very proud of her. I wanted to know how in the world she sold so many bags and she said this was her pitch to each teacher, aide, and office worker she came across: “I am raising money to help feed orphans in Africa who have been abandoned by their parents and go days without food. You can spend just 50-cents on a bag of popcorn for your snack tomorrow and that would go a long way in helping to feed these kids.” Apparently it worked and some teachers even ordered enough bags for their entire class!
When I went into her classroom to help drop off our load and apologize to her teacher for any unexpected disruption this project may have caused, she said in the 4 years they have been doing this fundraiser, no other student had ever had the idea of selling something to raise the money and that they were thrilled with her efforts!
So are we… although up to our eyeballs in popcorn
Kindness Challenge, MN
I wanted to fill you in on an excellent opportunity that perhaps your friends, family, and loved ones may be interested taking part in. Our group islooking to inspire kindness in the world, and we hope that together we can join forces to spread the message of kindness and warmth! Check for our Kindness Challenge Toolkit, coming in the next couple days, to find ways to spread the message to friends and family!
31 Days to Warm the World: Kindness Challenge 2012
In a world increasingly divided, a group of Minnesotans is starting a worldwide movement: to warm the world through kindness in just 31 days. During January, 2012, the Kindness Challenge intends to inspire one million acts of kindness throughout the world.
People who want to make a difference in the world are needed to help spread the word and participate in the Kindness Challenge. It’s free, and it’s simple. Doing something nice for others feels great, and it makes others feel great too. Most importantly, it can start a domino effect, connecting people around the world through kindness and generosity.
Small acts of kindness can be as simple as a smile, sending a card, opening a door or helping someone in need. One million acts of kindness create momentum that will change people’s lives and positively shift the world.
To participate in the Kindness Challenge, or learn more, follow us on Facebook, and check out our blog at: www.kindnesschallenge2012.wordpress.com
“When you look good, you feel good”
Those words were lovingly said by Shirleen, an amazing nurse at the Levine Children’s Hospital Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. Shirleen, baby Scottie, and all the other precious babies and their families who called the Levine NICU their home for a time, inspired us to help spread cheer where it was needed.
While trying to come up with a meaningful way to impact those babies and families, we realized how incredibly small we felt. How could we possibly come up with something that would mean anything when the only wish was for a miracle? From personal experience, we understood that no gesture is too small in a time of need. We also understood that splashes of cheer were not always in sight in the NICU. A NICU baby’s closest neighbor is often the machine that is keeping her a live until she has grown enough strength to do it on her own. A NICU baby’s best outfit is often a sterile white blanket. So we took nurse Shirleen’s words to heart and decided to help the babies feel good.
Using fabrics from our collections, we created soft colorful blankets to brighten their beds and hopefully their days. All babies visiting the Levine NICU will have their day brightened by one of the blankets pictured above. It was a heartfelt day when when our company Addie & Ella delivered over 1,000 of these blankets to the Levine NICU. It is our wish that all babies everywhere feel enveloped in love and cheer.
Mai-Lis and Meghan, owners and designers of a girl’s clothing line Addie & Ella.
A portion of our proceeds are donated to “Cottie and Cake”, a division of our company, dedicated to lifting the spirits of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Visit our website to learn how you get get involved with this loving cause www.AddieandElla.com
I met Jenn one day when she blew into our store to deliver a couple books. I quickly realized that she was a force to be reckoned with! Her passion and excitement about everything she does is absolutely a gift and so contagious. Her story, which I have read and found inspirational, is an easy read and you will find yourself wondering what ways, big or small, you can give back to your community. I have bought and given away several of her books. She has spoken at our Midweek Business Connection meeting and was fantastic!
I found this on facebook but it was really inspiring.
“Today,I was approached by a homeless man who asked if I had any change I only had two dimes, but I gave it to him anyways. As I watched him walk away, he put the dimes in someone’s expired parking meter. Someone who can’t afford to feed himself but helps others.”
All I can say is Job well done . Not only did you show everyone that there are still good people in the world, but the world is not selfish. This was a fabulous book that I took on my cruise. Before the cruise was over not only had I read your book but several people that was with me that week. I look forward Volunteering and seeing what my purpose is on this earth. Again Jean thanks you so much for coming into our Event Meeting & Planning class to share your story. You have truly inspired me to go after my dream and never give up on my dream.
My wife, Betsy, had just started work at a new company when she was asked if she wanted to buy a $5 ticket for a barbeque fundraiser. She soon learned that it was to benefit a co-worker’s son who was seriously ill.
She got to know her co-worker and found out that his son, Daniel, was the youngest (at the time) person ever to be diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Daniel was 20 years old and still lived on his own, but was unable to work. He had a tight group of friends that he had known for years that visited him often, usually to watch sports. Daniel followed all sports, but was especially fond of NASCAR and Bill Elliott, and the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre.
Betsy was touched by his story and wanted to do something for Daniel, something more than a $5 fundraiser. Charlotte’s October NASCAR race was coming soon and she decided that she would try to arrange a meeting with Bill Elliott. Betsy didn’t know much about sports, especially not car racing, and had no connections in that world. She did, however, have perseverance and an emotional motivation to provide a memorable experience for someone whose future looked so bleak.
Elliott had always been known as one of the nicest and most popular drivers, so once Betsy was able to get to the right people to reach out to him, he was exceedingly gracious. He invited Daniel to his hauler for a personal visit, talked racing, posed for pictures, autographed several items and was exceptionally generous with his time.
Betsy felt gratified, and although it hadn’t been easy to make the arrangements, it hadn’t been as time consuming or difficult as she had expected. So she aimed higher. She wanted Daniel to see a game at Lambeau Field and she wanted him to meet Brett Favre.
This was more of a challenge. She reached out to a large number of people and different organizations, too many to list here. But by the appropriate time, she had managed to get plane flights for Daniel, his father and his brother, tickets in a suite for the game and hotel accommodations for them all. The one missing piece was Brett Favre.
She was told by more than one person that there was no way he would agree or that the Packers would allow him to meet Daniel on a game day. As anyone who follows the NFL knows, Green Bay is a unique fan base that is exceptionally loyal and close to their team. It turned out that one of the people there, who had helped with the game tickets, also happened to know the one person who had ultimate influence with Brett, more than his coaches or the administration; his mother!
And that’s how the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. Daniel, his father and his brother went to the game and were escorted into the tunnel leading onto the field. Brett Favre came over, and as was the case with Bill Elliott, talked a little football, posed for pictures, autographed several items (including a jersey) and was amazingly generous with his time.
Not too long after their return, we had the opportunity to go with his dad to visit Daniel at his home. We got to relive his experiences and really hear firsthand how much they had meant to him. It made all of her efforts worthwhile and she said as much as we were driving home. But one thing she said has always stuck with me. “It was nice to finally meet him.”
She had done all this work for a guy she had never met, certainly because of her relationship with his father, but primarily because she felt he deserved the experiences that she was ultimately able to provide.
I have known Jenn Snyder for about 12 months and have been really impressed with her involvement in the community and when the book was finished I was excited to get a copy. I have been in the corporate world for the last 17 years and have never really had or made the time to get involved with the community until 3 years ago. Jenn’s book has many messages about other people that have made the decision to finally make time to give back to the community and my decision to do so has changed my life drastically. Recently, I volunteered for the special olympics in Charlotte NC and that has been on my mind for many years, since I have always contributed financially. After reading Jenn’s book, I finally made the decision to take the time and enjoyed spending time with the kids and I will make it more of a priority going forward. Thanks Jenn.
One day last February when the temperatures were at a bone chilling low I was driving down a busy road and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young child, with a man, standing on a bus stop bench wrapped in a beach towel. As I continued to drive towards my destination, the picture of this child wrapped in a beach towel on a cold day stuck in my mind and took over my heart. I turned the car around and drove back towards the bus stop. The city bus had just come and I ended up following it until I saw the child and the gentleman step off in front of an elementary school. I pulled in to the school driveway, rolled the car window down and asked the gentleman if his child needed a winter coat. He said that would be nice. I asked what size and I assured him that I would leave a winter coat in the school office with his daughters name on it by the end of the day. After stopping at three area Walmart stores I found the last size 5 purple little girls jacket in the city of Charlotte. Not only did I help that little girl with a coat, she got $150 worth of winter clothes, PJ’s and underwear delivered to her school in a huge gift bag tied with a pretty bow. To this day I think of that child every time I pass that bus stop. I hope she’ll remember me just as I will always remember her.
What a great book!!! With everything you see and hear on the news today it is so wonderful to read such an inspiring and uplifting book. I have shared many stories with my three children and have challenged them to make a difference. I love the fact that you are in classrooms sharing and spreading kindness. What a feeling it makes when you know you have reached out to someone in need whether it is a phone call, hug or monetary donation. My two oldest are doing a volunteer project every month with a group of their friends and families! What a difference this makes in their appreciation for life. In fact, my neighbors came over yesterday to tell me what a wonderful 13 yr old we have when he got off the bus he walked home and not only shoveled our driveway but then proceeded to shovel their driveway and worked outside for 2hours. I was so proud because he just did this on his own knowing that our neighbors needed help and then never even said a word to his dad and I for a pat on the back!!! Again, Thanks Jen for the wonderful testimonals and true acts of kindness.
This is a fabulous book that I will share with others! After reading 3 chapters I met with the make a wish foundation to make a child’s wish come true. I will start that in January and already have a loyal following of guests who will help me achieve my goal. Jen I cannot thank you enough for inspiring me to make the difference! You had me at chapter one!
I was feeling a little weary and dismal this cool fall Ohio morning. Just as I was counting out my change to get that much needed caffeine boost of coffee to get me through another hectic day, I pulled up to the Dunkin Donuts window and the cashier said, “The lady in front of you just paid for your coffee and said have a blessed day!” I was in shock and immediately began to cry. I have been wanting to do such a thing for days, but always think ‘I’ll do it when I have some more money’ which of course I never do. I was so inspired and thankful. People are truly good out there, and we just need to remember to continue those kind deeds daily.
I wanted to combine my passion for running with helping others. Those two collided in January when I decided to run a 113 mile race in the Colorado rockies and fundraise for the oldest daughter of the best man at my wedding, who was suffering from Neuroblastoma cancer. 113 For Emmah was born, along with telling the story of Emmah and my relationship with her family through my blog, www.113forEmmah.blogspot.com. For the following 8 months I raised money for the family – who has 5 other children (ages 3 – 12), as well as for the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. I was inspired and encouraged by Emmah’s fight, which she lost on Feb 10, 2010, just one month shy of her 14th birthday. I continued to train hard, raise donations, and write about my experience. While I successfully completed the race, it wouldn’t have been possible without Emmah by my side the entire way.
I look forward to reading Jenn’s book to help guide the next phase of my journey in helping others! We all have a gift, and just need to find the right opportunity to tap into it and bring it to life. I was fortunate to find that gift, and know there is still more to give.