Friday, October 31, 2008

A Different Perspective

It has been a crazy week, crazy busy that is. We finally sent out some media packages and as promised I've included a few pictures. The picture in the window of the box is actually a card, that contains a handwritten note to whomever is the recipient. Along with the beautiful tin box and two samples (one sample is our standard set of bands, the other is a sample of one of our custom orders) we include our media release and information sheet. Now we keep our fingers crossed!

Last evening I gave away a pair of bands during dinner at a restaurant. Our waitress was very, very pregnant and while giving the table behind us their check she dropped something off her tray. The woman at the table jumped up and picked it up for her. Once the waitress left, I leaned over and gave the woman two dakbands. She and her husband were so surprised, and touched. But that isn't the point. What struck me was the response of my family.

My seventeen year old daughter said, "Mom, it is so cool that you have the courage to do that. Those people seemed genuinely grateful." My husband smiled his encouragement at me, and I felt great - all night. I think that this is part of what makes the dakband project so effective and meaningful. As someone who wears the bands everyday I am always looking for opportunities to give the bands the away. Even during moments of frustration, I look down at my wrist and my perspective immediately changes. Sometimes when days go by and I haven't seen any acts of kindness I look for anything that resembles kindness.

This morning I saw a young mother with four children in a parking lot, she was trying to herd them all into the vehicle while the oldest (about 5) was doing his best to counter all her efforts. She finally lost it. After she got them all into their seats and closed the door she leaned into that van with her head down like it was her mother's shoulder. I walked over pressed two bands into her hand and said, "These bands are for kindness in our community, but I just want to encourage you." The bands on my wrist remind me of my choice to be kind each and every day.

We are going to extend our giveaway for another week. So be sure to check out the previous post to discover what you have to do.

Please do to the track your dak page to check out band #12008 - it is so cool!

Monday, October 27, 2008

School Projects

When Kara and I began this project we each had a vision for specific aspects of community and how the dakband project could be adopted and influence different areas of our lives. Given our backgrounds it isn't surprising that Kara has a great understanding and passion for the corporate and special event world, with her advertising expertise. While I have a real devotion to the school and sport domains because of my history with Justplay. It has been amazing to work with people in all of these areas and to see the enthusiasm and support that the dakbands receive in such different environments. Although, I think it's important to mention that the great thing about dakbands is that they connect different social spheres.

So far for the month of November we have two very awesome school projects that involve the dakbands. One is an anti bullying project hosted by the Halton Catholic School Board called, 'Be the Change'. Kara and I will be working with groups of students throughout the day teaching them about the dakbands and the importance of deliberate acts of kindness. The other exciting news is that a local high school has purchased bands for all their students - WOW! We can't wait to see the ripples of change, and the stories from all these bands as they spread from the school, into homes and our community, and eventually around the world. We'll be inviting students and teachers from the school to write some posts for us, so stay tuned. Some time this week we should also have our first interview posted. It is with a teacher from Illinois, who bought bands for her entire class and has been so moved by the response of her students and their families that she emailed me to share her story. Now I want to share it with you.

Before I forget PLEASE go to our track your dak page and check out our new filters. Click on the orange 'Click for Advanced Selectors'. By choosing one of the selectors you can track bands by how far they've traveled, how many communities they've through and how many stories are attached to them - Can you say geography lesson all you school teachers out there!

Check out band #83494, and make sure you zoom the map almost all the way out so you can see where this band started and where it traveled to!

This week we are inviting you to tell us who we should send some dakbands to, on your behalf. And why. We'll feature the winning story/comments on a future blog, perhaps even do an interview. Contest will close at midnight Friday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Winner Is.....

We have decided to send a set of dakbands to everyone who left a comment on our first post! (if you haven't already, please email me your address and we'll put those in the mail on Monday)

I thought it might be a good idea to give a brief 'how to' for those of you who have never experienced the dakband exchange.

Once you receive your set of bands - there are 8 in a set - you go to our website and click on the track your dak tab, on the track your page you click on create an account. Once you have created your account, you register your 8 bands - it is a very simple process. Now the fun begins. Wear the bands in pairs on your right wrist (I usually wear 4 to 6 at a time). As you go about your day look for people doing kind things for other people. It can be as simple as holding the door, or as generous as paying for someone's groceries. Approach the person you witnessed being kind and offer them two dakbands. I usually say something like this, " Hi, I just noticed that you held the door for that woman. I'd like to give you these two dakbands because we are encouraging kindness in our community. One is for you to keep and one is for you to pass along to someone else you witness being kind!" (of course, if the person you approached, didn't hold a door for someone this wouldn't be appropriate.) I usually don't say more than that. However sometimes the person is so excited they'll start up a conversation at which point I often point out that they can go to the website (on the bands) and share their story.

I have given away so many bands I've lost count, and the reacton is ALWAYS the same. People are moved, they are encouraged, and most importantly they are now emboldened to encourage someone else because they have experienced how it feels to be applauded for their kindness. I once had a woman who was moved to tears when I gave her the bands and she said to me, "Can you imagine what the world would be like if each of us gave a pair of these away every day?" The next day she ordered a set for all her children and grandchildren.

If you haven't started with a new set, but receive a pair for doing something kind, the process is the same. Go to the website, click on the track your dak tab, create an account and type in the numbers of the bands you received and share the story of how and why they were given to you.

Anybody can go to the track your dak page on the website and see the stories and travels of the bands. By clicking on Organization, and/or Communities as a starting point you can see all the bands (and where they've traveled) that originated with a particular organization or community. When you roll over a point on the map, the story of band appears!

Well, that's it for Lesson One Small Bear! You may try it now.....

Please check out band #23134 on the track your dak page.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beginnings: Part Three

It wasn't long after that Oprah show - thankfully it was a mild winter - that the concept worked itself out for me.

I knew that an individual would begin with a number of bands, wearing them like bangles, and that they would give two bands away to someone they witnessed being kind to someone else. (Although I began with a focus on sportsmanship I quickly realized that any gadget I created to reward sportsmanship could be applied in a much broader context, so I began to think much bigger, in terms of community - knowing that we could customize the project for sport.) The person receiving those two bands could keep one, and pass the other along to someone else they witnessed being kind. Then I realized it would be really neat if every single band had a unique number so it could be tracked on a live interactive map. We could ALL witness the ripple effects of kindness as our bands traveled through community and around the world.

The name of the project came to me during a workshop I was leading for sport administrators. I was explaining how important it is for members of a group or organization to define their understanding of certain words and concepts (character, community, citizenship, team....) in order to minimize misunderstandings and conflict. I was using the word random as an example because it is such a common slang word for youth these days. Random means without definite aim, reason or purpose. So why, I asked the group, do we celebrate random acts of kindness? And as the words came out of mouth I knew the name of our project would become Deliberate Acts of Kindness, and our bands would become dakbands.

My next post will discuss in greater detail my intention regarding the choice of 'Deliberate'.

Again, please don't forget to go to our first post and leave a comment so you have the opportunity to win some dakbands!

Please go to our trak your dak page on our website and check out band #19754.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beginnigs: Part Two

In the spring of the new year, 2006, I created a not for profit organization called Civic Sport Group (CSG). This organization would be the vehicle for all our community building initiatives, as well as, any grant and research projects. We received a grant from the Communities in Action Fund that permitted us to partner with a local university to examine bullying in youth hockey and build a new coach education model that we called the Coaching Connection. I promised myself that I would have a 'tool' by the time the grant project was due to finish in the spring of 2007.

All winter, as I ran through slush and snow (running is my processing/thinking time), I sorted out the details: purpose, procedure, outcomes. The purpose was fairly simple, it had to encourage sportsmanship and community. The outcome was even simpler, personal development and community transformation. But the procedure eluded me....the awareness band phenomena had really come and gone - aside from a few key colours it was difficult to know what they were meant to support. I liked the concept of the awareness band despite it's ubiquitary nature, however I always felt like there was a piece missing to that puzzel. They were too passive. Then one afternoon while watching the Oprah show - yes, I love Oprah - it all clicked!

Her guest was a pastor who had created an awareness band for his congregation. He challenged his congreation to go 21 days (the amount of time it generally takes to develop a new 'habit')without complaining, and every time that you did complain you had to switch your band to the opposite wrist and start your 21 days over. Here was the missing piece to the awareness band puzzel that eluded me - an action, switching the bands from wrist to wrist. However, the more I thought about it the more frustrated I became because as an observer I could never know at which point in the 21 days anyone was at. If I met you on the street and saw the band on your right wrist, you could have switched it five minutes ago, or 20 days it was back into my thermal underwear, and reflective outerwear, as I tried to figure out how to modify this concept. I felt like there was something really big and exciting waiting to be discovered, I knew I was close. (I am aware that by over analyzing the procedure I was missing the point. And I definitely would have had to switch wrists!)

Please don't forget to go to our first post and leave a comment so you have the opportunity to win some dakbands!

Please go to our trak your dak page on our website and check out band #6997.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beginnings: Part One

We are so excited about the dakband project, the reception it is receiving from individuals, corporate organizations, fundraising initiatives and especially schools. In fact we have been invited to present the dakband project at the Be the Change Youth Leadership and Action Day, on November 21, for the Halton Catholic School Board.

However, as promised, I’ll resume the story of the dakband genesis….A couple of years ago I was invited to speak at the inaugural conference of the ‘Church and Sport’ a new sector of the Roman Catholic Church. The conference was hosted by the Vatican and I was one of fifty people from around the world invited to participate, and only one of 10 invited to actually speak! I was also the only non- catholic participant. It was literally one of my life’s highlights, and yes, I did meet Pope Benedict! The invitation arose from work and research of my other company, Justplay Sports Services, The significance being, that it was this event that eventually inspired the development of the dakband project.

At one point, near the end of the conference, one of the Bishops asked my panel of speakers if there was any hope that we, as a global community, could salvage or restore the domain of sport to its virtuous or Olympic origins (each of the four panel members had unfortunately just painted a rather dismal picture of the state of youth and professional sports). I responded with a verse from the bible that tells us perseverance produces character, and character, hope. And inspired by that hope I left the conference with a mission to create a tool that would help reestablish the community building virtues of sport.

Stay tuned for Part two……

Please don't forget our give away (see our first post). Leave a comment about an act of kindness that touched you!

At the end of each blog I am going suggest tracking a particular dakband. So please check out band # 31621 at our website tracking page

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Welcome to our daklife blog.

My partner Kara Hawke and I will be posting regularly about the Deliberate Acts of Kindness project: musings, observations, developments, contests, interviews, and from time to time perhaps even a rant or two! We hope you’ll visit often, become part of our global community, share your comments and acts of kindness that touch and change your life.

Our story

I created the dakband concept over the period of about year. (I’ll post a story about that creative process in the near future). Once I had some samples in hand, I invited a friend for lunch hoping that her reaction to the concept would give me the approval encouragement I needed to take the next steps. By the end of lunch (I’m not sure we even ordered any food!), Kara and I were partners. (We could probably write a bestseller called the Dak Diet)

As the V.P. of a boutique advertising firm, the mother of six, and an inherently kind soul, I knew Kara was the perfect partner. Her company ( did all the fabulous design and logo work for the project. And within a few weeks Kara made our first custom sales (see Transitions Group and CBIC Run for the Cure). Her passion for the project combined with her networking skills continue to open doors that would make even Monty Hall jealous!

Although the project had a soft launch in the New Year, we are sending our ‘official media release’ out into the world next week. Emerson Group has created an awesome package that will go out to newspapers, magazines, organizations, and important individuals around the world so keep your eyes and ears open – or simply visit here to learn about all the latest developments and reactions to the project.

In honor of our official blog launch our first give away will be 3 sets of dakbands drawn at random from everyone who leaves a comment about an act of kindness that inspired them. The contest will close at midnight Friday the 24th.

I look forward to sharing with you all.
Yours kindly,