celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘RAK

The third week of school has brought more and more visitors to the Tiny Tech Cafe! Teachers and students are starting to find their groove with weekly schedules and classes are starting to rotate through the laptop labs.

Practically every single day this week there has been a new surprise waiting for me in the Cafe. Wanda Atkinson, a retired MES teacher donated two books to our lending library and Conde Bivins let me borrow the book Awakened by Angela Watson, which I will hopefully order this coming week so other teachers can be inspired, too.


Yes, I know, it’s probably a paradox that an instructional technologist gets so excited by printed books, but there’s just something right about holding a book in your hands, flipping through the pages, filling your mind with new insights, new perspectives, or reminders of great lessons learned in the past.

We also had a few anonymous donations as well! Someone left a huge bag of chocolate with a gorgeous Starbucks mug, as well as a battery-lighted star, perfect for our Green Screen area!  

Stephanie Joyner donated some tissues and Clorox wipes and Heather Causey sent a lighted JOY sign that I can’t wait to display!


I also purchased a set of chalkboard markers so I could start personalizing the signs around the room:


My forever friend, Lisa Zader, donated a set of ceramic tea spoons that were owned by her sweet Aunt Nancy, who passed away earlier this year.

Our principal, Amy Robinson, purchased two clocks for our space: one to replace the wired clock that has long since been frozen at 9:01 and another one chosen specifically for the Tiny Tech Cafe! She even included batteries so we could use them right away!


And… Drumroll please… the Tiny Tech Cafe now has a working mini-fridge! Woooo-Hoooo! A special thanks to Suzi Tapper who sent an email to staff saying one was up for grabs – I was more than happy to claim it for the Cafe! Yay!


Little by little, piece by piece, our Tiny Tech Cafe is coming together! This week I hope to add more decorations to the walls and start ordering a few books for our lending library.

Also, Mechanicsville Elementary is hosting their Back to School Night on Thursday, September 29 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Please stop in and take a peek at the Tiny Tech Cafe! We will have a little Open House of our own before and after the PTA meeting (so 5:30-6pm and 7-7:30pm). I would love to share what YOU’VE helped create!

Thanks to each any every one of you who’ve contributed to our campaign! Your kindness means SO much! Feel free to share this blog post with others, too, so they can celebrate with us next week!

Blessings!

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know all about the Tiny Tech Cafe. (If not, click here and get caught up!) 

Last Monday, my husband came to Mechanicsville Elementary and graciously donated his time and talent to putting together both the sofa, the bar-height rectangular table, and two bar stools (which I can assure you was no small feat!)

These two items, purchased with funds from our GoFundMe campaign made SUCH a difference in our Tiny Tech Cafe! It’s wonderful to have so many options to either sit or stand!

I wanted to create a natural border between the cafe section and the storage area, so I placed the bookshelf beside the sofa with some extra space left towards the wall.

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Next, I placed a shower curtain rod against the side of the bookshelf all the way to the concrete wall, then used hooks to hang a fabric curtain, which blocked the view of the stacked items. I then covered the hooks with burlap to make it a little more appealing to the eye.

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To add to my joy, I had several teachers stop by to bless our space with random acts of kindness! Kristi Oliver created a beautiful lighted display for the cafe saying, “As soon as I saw the words, I knew I had to make it for you.” Talk about a Kleenex moment!

Wanda Atkinson, a retired MES teacher also stopped by and donated brand new pillows for our sofa – now we can switch them out with the seasons!

We even had another kind friend donate disposable cups and lids, which have already been used by teachers on the go!

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Oh my goodness! What started off as a little dream to revamp our laptop lab has truly turned into a community project of love! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!

Using funds from the GoFundMe campaign, we rewarded two deserving teachers with Starbucks gift cards at our September faculty meeting. Both Melanie Williams and Kristi Oliver (and her son, Matthew) attended eight separate professional development sessions with me last year as we learned about various iPad apps. It was a joy to pay-it-forward by thanking them for being life-long learners who are always willing to try something new!

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Each day brings a new surprise as the Tiny Tech Cafe continues to evolve in its purpose. I’m delighted to see the smiling faces of students and teachers, popping their heads in to say hello, or sitting down to chat about a project, lesson, or idea.

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Our campaign is still active, as we now shift our attention to purchasing educational books for teachers to stock  the Tiny Tech Cafe Lending Library. In fact, just today we received a donation from my dear forever friend, Lisa Zader, another ZTA sorority sister, who also shared our campaign on her Facebook wall stating:

“She is sowing kindness, increasing joy and motivation, and reminding people that what they do matters. Learning new ways often needs new atmospheres, new containers to contain and pass on, new perspective, and often a waking up to the fact that you can make a difference.”

Thank you to all who have donated to our Tiny Tech Cafe. Whether through a monetary contribution or donating time and items, thank you! This space would not be a reality if not for your support.

You are making a difference!

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This entire weekend has been rainy.  Dark.  Dreary.  Drizzle.  Downpours. Depressing.  Somehow the alliteration of my words echoes the dullness of the day.  So… what better way to beat the doldrums… but to don my raincoat and drive out to perform a RAK! 🙂

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As many of you know, several of my RAKs occur at grocery stores.  Usually this is because I am ALWAYS grocery shopping.  (Hey – I like to cook and I like to eat… it’s a logical place to spend my time, lol!)  Kroger, Martin’s, Food Lion, Target, Walmart, Pole Green Produce… if you sell food, chances are I have visited your store a time or two!

Some people clip coupons; some people look for sale flyers… I’m a gal of convenience.  If I need something and you’re on my path from here to there, then I’ll shop at your store.  I like to stick with stores where I know the general layout (mainly because my time is precious and it’s easier to run in and out if I know where something is located versus hunting the entire store for a box of rice noodles that can only be found down the Asian food aisle.)

There are times when grocery store chains try to reel me in as a repeat customer by offering special deals or perks.  Kroger offers fuel points and sometimes if you purchase gift cards there you can earn up to 4x the price paid.  Now that’s a good deal!  Food Lion is currently running a special where each week if you spend a certain amount of money you earn a ticket – 6 weeks of tickets can be redeemed for a “free holiday meal” (which is a $20 credit on your next food bill.)  That’s a good deal, too!

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Well, as luck would have it, I earned three tickets, not six.  Again, I shop for convenience, not for dedication.  Instead of just throwing away the tickets which were useless to me, I decided to take this rainy weekend and bring a little sunshine to someone else’s day.

I made a sign, explaining that the tickets were free to take, then I taped each ticket to the message along with my business card so those who received the RAK could visit this website and read the background story of their RAK.  Then I drove to Food Lion and taped my sign and tickets to an outdoor display right outside the storefront doors.

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I thought maybe someone might be collecting tickets, but missed one week, or maybe didn’t spend enough money to earn a ticket. Whatever the reason, I hope the person (or people!) were blessed by this Random Act of Kindness.  If you are reading this today and you were the lucky recipient, please comment below if you like to share the joy of paying it forward!

I hope you can find inspiration in even the darkest of days to bless someone else in fun, creative ways.  Performing this RAK sure did bring a smile to my face!  🙂

 

Did you know that today, March 1, 2014, is the Annual Melee of Kindness? According to http://www.therandomact.org, over 498 participants in 18 countries performed 156 acts of kindness all in one day last year.  How fun!

This year, I’m adding two of my own acts to the list.  Read below to find out what I did!

AMOK RAK #1

My niece has a severe dairy allergy that prevents her from enjoying many of the sweet treats children take for granted. Ice cream. Chocolate. Cookies. Cake.  Sure, there are substitutes out there she can have but nothing can compare to a surprise trip to an ice cream parlor like Sweet Frog or Coldstone.  We were chatting one afternoon and being almost 7 she said that she was too scared to get retested because she knew it would hurt.  I told her if she went ahead with the test and found out she wasn’t allergic to dairy anymore that I would take her out and she could get any ice cream she wanted!

Well, my brave little niece went ahead and got retested only to discover she had not outgrown her allergy.  No ice cream allowed. Poor thing!  I found out what her favorite candies were (that she was allowed to eat) and made her this candy gift instead.  It wasn’t much, but it was the least I could do to reward her bravery!

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AMOK RAK #2

In preparation of making the candy treat above, I went to our local grocery store to purchase the items needed.  As I was walking through the busy parking lot, I heard an older gentleman asking for directions.  “Excuse me, can you help me find Fed Ex?”  He was holding a piece of paper, pointing to something circled, the Fed Ex emblem bright enough to see several feet away.

Now let me stop here to say I am cautious about speaking to strangers, especially when I am alone.  However, this was a very busy parking lot with cars and people all around, and something prompted me to smile and offer my assistance.  “Absolutely!” I responded.  I walked towards him and sure enough, the item circled on his paper was a street address for Fed Ex.  I really had no idea how to get there, so I pulled out my cell phone, located my favorite traffic/navigation app, Waze, and punched in the address.

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“Ahhh – that’s why you are lost… this street actually stops at a dead end, then picks back up on the other side of a neighborhood.”  I could see the relief flood through his eyes.  “Thank you so much!” he replied.  “I’ve been driving up and down the road and thought I had lost my mind!”

I explained to him exactly where to go, then we parted ways with smiles on both our faces.  It felt good to help out someone in need!

I hope you are blessed by my stories and inspired to do your own RAK today in celebration of AMOK!  🙂

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puzzlesMy daughter came to me yesterday morning asking if we could donate some puzzles to church, explaining that the children’s nursery only had one puzzle that our son completed week after week.  (If you know our children, you know both boys LOVE putting jigsaw puzzles together.)

It was a really easy RAK to complete; I walked into my son’s room and started pulling unused puzzles off the shelf.  I think the most difficult part of the process was choosing WHICH puzzles to donate because we had so many (we finally agreed to make two separate bags – one with 24 piece puzzles for the younger kids and another with 100 piece puzzles for the older kids).  We made sure the boxes were sturdy and all puzzle pieces accounted for, then sent them on their way!

May this inspire you today to look through your kids’ closets or playrooms and gather a few items for someone who may benefit from a “new-to-me” toy – check with local daycare centers, churches, even your local gyms, dentists and doctor offices might appreciate your generosity.  You never know what will put a smile on someone’s face!

Be blessed!

Did you know this week is Random Act of Kindness Week?  It’s true!  A whole week dedicated to being kind to those around us – what joy!

The best part about doing RAKs is that they don’t have to cost money or even be that “amazing” of tasks.  Here are a few RAKs I did on Monday:

  • Held the door open for a student whose hands were full of books
  • Complimented a coworker
  • Allowed someone to use the faculty restroom before me (don’t laugh – when you are a teacher and can only leave your classroom during designated times of the day – this RAK is HUGE!)
  • Drove past the closest parking space in the parking lot so someone else could be blessed by a shorter walk
  • Smiled and greeted coworkers as I passed them on the sidewalk
  • Sent messages on FB to friends letting them know I was thinking about them
  • Shared my homemade chex mix with a coworker
  • Stopped what was on my “to-do” list to help coworkers right when they needed help

See?  Random acts of kindness can be easy! (Granted, some easier than others, lol.)  Many times we find ourselves overwhelmed or in a rut when we think we have to do something over-the-top amazing to make a difference in the lives of others.  Let me reassure you that EVERY act of kindness is important and has the potential to be life changing!  Seriously!

Today I performed two specific RAKs.  First, I brought chocolate to share at the professional development training I was leading after school.  (Chocolate ALWAYS makes people feel good, right?)

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Second, I bagged my own groceries at Kroger and took them out to my car in the freezing cold to save the bagger an extra trip outside.

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See?  Easy.  Nothing to it!

I would love to know what you are doing to celebrate Random Act of Kindness Week!  Share your experiences through Twitter, Instagram, FB or right here on my WordPress blog… just add the hashtag #RAKweek to your post so we can inspire each other!

Be blessed, dear friends, and RAK on!  🙂

Last week I received an email sent on behalf of a co-worker’s son.  He was chosen from among his peers to attend a leadership conference for one of his school clubs.  What an honor!  The email was asking for monetary donations towards his travel expenses, but what struck me was the offer to do any kind of service or job for donations as well.  There was even a tagline that any donation was appreciated – even a $1.00 would help!  Wow – he thought of everything!

Now I’m going to be brutally honest here, with a little guilt attached as well.  I have received many emails and letters from friends or children of friends asking for donations of support for church or school activities.   I’m always touched in the moment and have the best of intentions, but sometimes I read these messages and forget to follow through.  The guilt builds up because so many of you have been exceptionally kind to me and MY children in supporting us with our initiatives and school activities.  So right now I am apologizing to each and every one of you for all the donations, wedding gifts, birthday wishes and such that I have forgotten to send throughout the years.

Yesterday I followed through.

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It wasn’t much, only $5, but it was $5 he didn’t have before.  Every little bit counts, right?

May your day be blessed and may you be better than me in remembering to support our youth in their adventures!


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The cards I made as random acts of kindness to bless others through iServe #iservecsbc #rak
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