Monday, March 28, 2011

It's that time again

On April 30th students graduating from grade 8, and grade 12 will be 'shopping' for prom dresses, suits and accessories.

Two years ago Deliberate Acts of Kindness hosted the first Cinderella Event. In less than 8 weeks Kara and I managed to collect over 1000 dresses, hundreds of pairs of shoes, boxes full of jewelery, and a team of volunteers that helped 100 young girls (who would otherwise not have be able to afford to attend their graduation) find the perfect graduation dress and accessories. And because it was Mother's Day weekend we invited the mothers to shop as well. All this was made possible by the incredible generosity and kindness of friends, family and complete strangers, from all over Southern Ontario. They donated amazing dresses and accessories, and then they volunteered the day of. Then after the event, many of them sent notes thanking us for the experience.

So when the Halton Learning Foundation asked us to help them host the event this year, we were thrilled. It's a win win situation. We get to be part of a transformational event (but with a lot less work :) and the Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) gets our expertise to co-ordinate a transformational event. This year the event was expanded to include young men as well.

Over the next month, leading up to the event, I'll be posting about the developments, the volunteers, the sponsors, and hopefully we'll even have some personal stories from some of the young girls who participated in the last event.

To start, I want to give a shout out to Glad Tidings Church in Burlington. They have generously donated their venue for the event.

Then we have Joelle's, a fabulous women's boutique in Burlington, that has offered to be drop off location for those who have dresses or accessories to donate. If that wasn't enough, they are offering a 20% discount on a new dress for your donation, as well as, 10% discount on any new accessories.

Finally, as far as partners go, we have Charles Sturt University. Students have volunteered to help coordinate the event and serve in all the various roles the day of.

Here is our event flyer:

Please visit the HLF website to see how you can help at this year's event.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Bands, and Tulips

Well, our new samples of our new bands finally arrived. The kerning is perfect (spacing between letters). For comparisons sake here is the original sample, and here is the new sample:

We'll be placing our order shortly, and at the same time, sharing some special projects that will be using the 'old' bands. Maryann is full of wonderful ideas (as usual).

I have a few Carolin related kindnesses, that can be shared simply with pictures. Because Carolin is an artist, in spirit and vocation, I like to share how her kindness enriches my life with photos. Isn't that what makes kindness so valuable, a simple gesture, or attitude, that can profoundly change a life. I wish I could photograph the silence that Carolin and I sometimes share as an expression of our friendship. It is magical, peaceful, and kind.

I think this photo of tulips (a gift from Carolin) in the morning light might come close to capturing what I mean.....

Finally, a couple more of her Heart Cards:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thought About it......

"People who think too much before they act don't act too much," (Jimmy Buffett).

As much as this might work in Margaritaville, I'm sure Confucius has some tidbit of wisdom warning of the foolishness of acting without thinking. And if it's true that wisdom comes with age, then I shouldn't need any reminders. However, I have to confess to 'gushing without thinking', yet again. A couple of posts ago I gushed over Secret Agent Laura Miller, a young woman who performs anonymous acts of kindness in the Pittsburgh area. I stumbled upon her story, because it was about kindness, and had momentum, I was all over it. Yet a few days later, I had some thoughts - some thoughts I should have had at the time.

Although I think what Secret Agent Laura is doing is wonderful, it is fundamentally different from what the vision and purpose of dakbands is all about. Which is to say, we want kindness to connect people, to encourage a kindness consciousness that appreciates the importance of making kindness something we do for each other, not under a shawl of anonymity, but in the presence of community. By sharing and offering dakbands to individuals who do something kind, in the presence of others, we send a message to the witnesses of the exchange that inspires more kindness, more connection, more community. Then of course there is the beauty of being able to track all the stories associated with each band, as it is passed on. There is value in seeing how one deliberate act of kindness, leads to another, which leads to another....

“I learned that inspiration does not always come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic, striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time. ”
Brenda Ueland (1891-1985)
Journalist, editor, teacher

I will always be passionate about kindness, and I will always look for and share stories about kindness. Kindness inspires kindness in whatever form it takes. However, I'll also remember to share the context of the dakband project because I believe that it is slowly and quietly inspiring kindness around the world. And hopefully, through sharing, I can speed the process up :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

25 million

By chance, I happened to see this evening's 60 Minutes. I say 'by chance' because we don't have cable and only get about 3 channels, so it's not often I'm sitting in front of the TV. But this evening, my husband made a roaring fire (in the fireplace) and I couldn't resist curling up on the couch and looking for something to watch. Now I'm wondering how to share the story. About half way through the segment I began frantically looking for a pen and paper to take notes, but we all know how that turned out.

How is it possible that within a year approximately 25 million American children, 25%, will be living below the poverty line? Right now, that number is about 20 million. In tonite's segment, Homeless Kids: the hard-times generation, Scott Pelly interviews a group of children in Florida whose families have recently become homeless as a result of the recent great depression. These bright, beautiful, articulate, children describe what it's like to go to bed hungry, the shame of living in their mini-van in a WalMart parking lot, having the electricity shut off and doing homework by candle light, the fear of stigma should friends discover their secret, the fear that they are somehow responsible, the shame of seeing your father stand on the side of road with sign - begging for work.

I can tell you that despite the misery, every family, every story, shared a simple dignity, and great love that enabled them to persevere. And like many stories of suffering, there was also a redemptive theme of kindness. To the neighbours who opened their home to family who had lost theirs, we will be sending you dakbands, to the woman who found a job for the father with the sign, we will be sending you dakbands....and to all the families, and children who had the courage to share your story, we will be sending you dakbands. And to the ninety some odd people who left offers of help within moments of the show ending.....your kindness has not gone unnoticed.