Did you know that crayons used in a restaurant by kids (or fun adults) are generally thrown away due to germs? And did you know that approximately 30 tons of crayons end up in a landfill each year?
So what did one dad do about this? He started recycling old germ-filled crayons, turning them into new ones for children in schools and hospitals who may not have access to these wondrous tools of the art trade.
Thus far, Bryan Ware has created over 800,000 crayons for kids in need. Pretty cool (and colorful!)!
There are many sayings such as “treat and move your feet” or “meditate and tie up your horse” (my personal favorite) that remind us to go inward, connect, AND act.
So in the interest of that sentiment, here’s an article about connecting with kindness through meditation and visualization. As the piece states, “By practicing loving-kindness meditation, you can learn to see the lives of others as related to your own. This doesn’t mean you must like everybody, or agree with everything they do. It means you can open up to the possibility of caring for others not just because you like them, admire them, or are indebted to them, but because your lives are inextricably linked.”
Sometimes all we need is a sweet story to make us go “awww” and start our day off on the right foot. Or wheel, as the case may be.
Bertha the bunny had a collapsed hip, and the vet told owner Melanie James that she would need to put the paralyzed bunny to sleep. Instead of taking that option, Melanie crafted a customized wheelchair for Bertha to help her walk. Now she wheels all over the place; a happy bunny with a second chance at life.
Two firemen, exhausted from a 12-hour shift spent cleaning out a fire, went to a diner at 6am for strong coffee to keep them staggering on. And when the waitress overhead the men talking, instead of handing them a bill, she handed them a note–complete with firefighting doodles–thanking them for their service and letting them know their orders were on her.
Later, after sending their buddies into the diner and telling them to leave big tips for the kind waitress, the dynamic duo of firefighters learned that the waitress’s father is quadriplegic and that she’d set up an online donation account months ago. Apparently she needed a wheelchair accessible vehicle for her father and was doing everything she could to make that happen.
So when the firefighters found out about it, they dove in to help (is that a surprise? Firefighters are amazing.). And within just a few days, they’d helped to raise $70,000, well over the $17,000 that was originally asked for.
The waitress and her family are tremendously grateful. “All I did was pay for their breakfast. I didn’t expect anything more than a smile,” she said. “It goes to show that you just have to be kind to each other and that even the smallest gesture can change a life.”
Ever stop and stare at a tree? A flower? The stars? Try it. It might help you feel even the smallest sense of awe. And, as a recent study by UC Berkeley and UC Irvine shows us, being in a state of awe can lead you to being more generous, more compassionate, and provide a sense of connectedness.
According to Paul Piff, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at UC Irvine, participants in the study reported that after feeling a sense of awe, they experienced “a reduced sense of self importance relative to something larger and more powerful that they felt connected to.”
And these feelings of awe and connection proved impactful when taken to the street, so to speak. Participants were more helpful, held a greater sense of ethical responsibility, and triggered more generous behavior.
Sometimes we come across a fun glimpse of people who give back to their communities (creative communities, local communities, etc.). Here’s a look at costume designer Shawna Trpcic:
At one point, the designer who just finished work on the TV pilot, The Frankenstein Code, says she encountered a dark period in her work where she felt misunderstood and as though her hard work was going unrecognized. Her solution? Volunteer to reignite passion.
And on the topic of searching for the positive, she believes in supporting people in her creative community by encouraging them, by complimenting the thing that’s right rather than focusing on the flaw.
At a time when topics such as political debates or a Kardashian/Jenner sister receiving a Ferrari for her birthday are considered “popular,” sometimes a community takes it upon themselves to spread kindness or compassion…or calm. And a hashtag trending on Twitter right now is a fun one: #CalmYourselfIn4Words
What started the trend is not the focus of sharing this fun thing that is happening on the web. The focus is on the Twitter community coming together to share how they calm themselves in 4 words.
And as we know, science tells us that our brain sends messages to the body when READING about a topic, similar to the same messages when one is EXPERIENCING something first hand.
Looking for an idea to pay it forward? Here’s one:
Owen Griffith went to a local gas station to get some gas for his lawn mower. He only needed a small amount, so he pre-paid for $1.50’s worth of gas. Then when he started to pump the gas, he was surprised to see the total shoot past the amount he’d paid for. The gas can nearly overflowed, and Owen thought it was just a mistake.
When he went inside to pay for the extra gas, he was stunned when the cashier told him that a woman had paid two extra dollars to be put on Owen’s pump.
While Owen didn’t get a chance to thank the woman as she had already left, he made the decision to pay it forward by giving $2 to someone else anonymously.
When John and Nikki Copleston visited a medieval castle in Wells, England, they discovered a camera memory card wrapped inside of a discarded ticket stub. In an attempt to locate the rightful owner of the memory card and to help return the lost photos, they viewed what was on the card and discovered that there were 1500 travel photos from a couple’s trip around the world.
Their search for the globe-trotting couple came up short so finally they turned to stuff.co.nz to post a few photos, hoping that the couple in them would be identified.
Just 20 minutes after the article was published on the site, the owners of the card were identified as Kate and Blu Lang.
The Coplestons quickly got in touch with the Langs and arranged to return their lost memory card containing precious memories. Pretty cool!
Have you inexplicably been pulled over by a child with a badge? This might explain it:
A young family’s car broke down on the side of the road and a Pennsylvania Police Officer pulled over to see what the trouble was. He waited with the family for the tow truck to show up, and even gave the kids some little “badge tattoos.”
A bit later, a letter arrived for the family. In it were official police patches for the kids and a note that read, “Hopefully they can wear the rest of the uniform when they get old enough.”
In a small town near Yosemite National Park, lived Ruger. Ruger was a dog rescued from a life spent sequestered on a ranch in one of the hottest areas of California. He was picked up by a kind man, brought to the mountains, and got to do cool things like go to work every day on construction sites, ride around town in a big green work van, and walk around the local hardware store, knowing exactly where to go to garner a treat.
Then one day Ruger required surgery, expensive surgery. And it was in question whether or not the costs could be covered. So, what did the people in this small town do? They began raising money for the beloved Ruger so he could get the procedure he needed.
People drove to the vet to donate money, people donated via GoFundMe, people spread the word on Facebook. The compassion poured in.
Unfortunately after the surgery, Ruger went to dog heaven, but he went to dog heaven knowing he was loved and supported by his kind family and a giving town that adored him.
Firefighter Ryan Klavohn and a fellow firefighter were shopping for groceries in Bolingbrook, Illinois, when they abruptly had to leave their cart because they received an ambulance call.
Ryan and his buddy transported a patient then returned to the store for their groceries. The men were near the cash register when another ambulance call came in and, again, they had to leave their full cart.
When they finally returned, they found a pleasant surprise waiting for them.
“It’s not uncommon that we have to leave and come back but by now it was our third time there,”Ryan explained. “We went to pick up the groceries and they told us someone paid for all of them. After being confused for quite a few minutes, we saw a very nice note.”
In the note, the person who paid for the contents of their cart (approximately $50 in groceries) explained that it was a “pleasure”to pay for them. The donor, who did not leave a name, also thanked them for all they do.
For Ryan, the Act of Good was an unexpected role reversal of sorts, since usually he and his colleagues are looking out for and helping their community.
Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Ropos in Lake County, Ohio, recently stopped by a lemonade stand run by a 9-year-old girl. She went over to him with lemonade and he gave her a few dollars then inquired what the proceeds would go toward. She shared that she wanted an iPad to play games and do school work on.
The next day the deputy arrived back at the lemonade stand, this time with a brand new iPad. He asked the girl how much money she’d saved and she informed him she gave a lot of the proceeds to her mom because her mom needed gas for the car.
“When she told me she gave the money to her mom … that’s when I almost started crying because of how great of a kid she really was,” Ropos said.
A kind sheriff, a great kid, and an act of kindness that all started with a spark of an idea and a squeeze of a lemon.
Read more of this story by Rebecca Gruber on PopSugar!
Debra and Shaun had previously visited the West Side Café with their infant daughter, Glory, who was one of their four children. But this time when they visited, they came without Glory.
Kayla Lane, the 21 year-old who has worked at the West Side Café for four years, was surprised and saddened to learn that little Glory had passed away—reasons unknown.
So when it came time for Debra and Shaun to pay for their meal, they glanced at the check that read, “Your ticket has been paid for. We are terribly sorry for your loss. God Bless. —The West Side.”
“We are all a community and we have to stick together and help each other,” the young waitress said. “I felt it was my duty to help them simply through one day and the help I chose to give them was picking up their ticket. It wasn’t because they necessarily needed it, it wasn’t because I felt bad, it was simply to show them that there are strangers out there willing to help them through this difficult time.”
Lillie Johnson was working the lunch rush at Lincoln’s O Sandwiches, ringing up customer after customer. When she got to Bob Durling’s order—a slice of pie—something out of the ordinary happened.
A woman named Nanette Wargo interrupted and told Lillie she would pay for the man’s order.
“Bob,” Lillie, said to the man waiting to pay. “She’s paying for you.”
Slightly confused, Bob looked to Nanette for an explanation.
“I want to,” the kind stranger explained, “because you remind me of my father.”
The two talked for a few minutes, Nanette revealing that her father was a U.S. Navy veteran. Bob shared that he is also a veteran; he served from 1942 to 1946.
As for why Nanette paid for a stranger’s food, she said, “He reminded me of my dad. You know a soldier when you see one. These people need to be taken care of. And if you can make someone happy by spending a few dollars, why not do it?”
See More of this Story by Carrie Steinweg at NWI.com Here!
The small town of Olds, Alberta, Canada decided to do a challenge for Good: They challenged the community to do 5,000 Acts of Good and to share those Acts of Good on Anonymous Good, all by the end of the school year.
With the help of its 8,000 or so citizens, and with Deer Meadow School leading the way, they not only met that goal, they met it with flying colors at over 5,300 Acts and counting.
Did you catch that? 8,000 citizens and over 5,000 Acts of Good?? What a town!
We also must admit that moderating these Acts of Good was quite the job. Not because it was difficult, per se, but because it was “difficult” to make it through without bursting into tears (I speak from personal experience) at how truly awesome these people, especially the kids, are. The Acts of Good ranged from “that’s so nice” to “whoa.” Here are some examples:
“I read a story to my sister for bedtime.”
“Sometimes my friend doesn’t have much to eat so I share my food with her”
“when my little sister fell in the mud I helped her up.”
“My friend said I could, when I thought I couldn’t.”
“We were in the drive through at Tim Hortons and the person in front of us paid for our food.”
“I helped a friend conquer her fear”
“My friend G sat with me because I was lonely”
“Someone stuck up for me when i was called squidface”
“I bought flowers at a store and gave them to people at the hospital.”
“My friends are amazing! When I’m around them, they make me feel happy. I’m not popular, but I am when I’m with them”
Incredible right? So, in pure appreciation, we thank the people of Olds and the students of Deer Meadow School. You’ve affected the world in beautiful ways. Keep it up.
And for those who need a little inspiration, here’s a video featuring people from around the world (including NBA player–Channing Frye, star of Rookie Blue–Travis Milne, head coach of the Phoenix Suns–Jeff Hornacek, lead singer of Luc and the Lovingtons–Luc Reynaud, and many others!) thanking the kids of Deer Meadow School.
In Black Mountain, North Carolina, a man—who wishes to remain anonymous—overheard a conversation at a car dealership. On one end of the phone was Connie, a single mother of three, who desperately needed a car. On the other end, a sales manager.
The anonymous man announced that he was going to go home and pray about buying the woman that car. “Nobody thought he was serious,” the owner of the dealership said.
The man returned to the dealership and ended up paying $2,200 for a used car for Connie, while Connie’s father took care of the $800 down payment.
“I cried and thanked him at least a thousand times,” the grateful woman revealed to ABC News. “He gave me an extra $100 and said the first tank of gas was on him.”
“You hear so many negative things about the world and then you see someone do a good deed without a single gain,” the dealership owner added. “Once it set in, it really hit home for everyone here.”
See More of this Story by ABC News at WJLA.com Here!
Doing Acts of Good feels good. We know this, we know that science supports this.
We’re also loving that science tells us that, through participation with an Act of Good—be it through giving, receiving, witnessing, or even reading about Acts of Good—our brains are stimulated in the same way.
A recent article in The New Yorker states: “Since the discovery, in the mid-nineties, of “mirror neurons”—neurons that fire in our brains both when we perform an action ourselves and when we see an action performed by someone else—the neuroscience of empathy has become clearer. A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology, based on analysis of fMRI brain scans of participants, showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves.” [emphasis added]
Anonymous Good was created with this science in mind. Plus it explains why we all feel so good reading everyone’s Acts of Good. (Job benefit!) Additionally, there is something to be said for reading what makes you feel good…but that’s another topic. Best not to get me started.
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