Kinsmen celebrate kindness with parking deed

It’s what they do – help the community in any way they can.

The St. Thomas Kinsmen club will be covering the cost of parking at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital on Saturday.

Saturday is the sixth annual National Day of Kindness, which is celebrated by each Kinsmen club in Canada.

“Every Kin club in Canada gets together and does something to give back to the community,” said Matt Sharpe, president of the St. Thomas Kinsmen club.

For the last two years St. Thomas’s club has provided free parking at the city’s hospital.

“From 10 (a.m.) until 5 (p.m.) the gates will be up,” Sharpe said.

The club members got together and decided to cover the cost of parking because of the impact the act will have locally.

“It’s a feel-good feeling when you know that people that have been in the hospital for various different reasons, expecting to have to pay for parking, coming out and finding out there’s a couple Kinsmen standing by the change meter saying, ‘You don’t need that today,’” Sharpe said.

Paul Jenkins, STEGH Foundation’s executive director, said the biggest message that can be taken from the Kinsmen club’s act of kindness is that it isn’t the first time the club has stepped up to help the hospital.

“We’ve had a long relationship with them,” Jenkins said. “They’ve been donors extraordinaire.”

Jenkins said covering the cost of parking takes away one extra stressor for people visiting the hospital.

“It removes just one small burden,” Jenkins said.

The St. Thomas Kinsmen are constantly looking for ways to give back to the community such as Canada Day fireworks and the annual Easter egg hunt.

“We do different events to raise money for the community,” Sharpe said.

Kin Canada has been around since Feb. 20, 1920 and the National Day of KINdness is a way for members to celebrate the club’s founding. The St. Thomas club was found 25 years later in 1945.


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Ridgefield to create “Kindness Mural” to promote tolerance and inclusion

During the first week of March, hundreds of volunteers will place quarter-inch porcelain tiles onto the side of The Barn Teen Center, transforming the now-empty wall into a colorful piece of art.

When it is done, organizers hope the 90-square-foot abstract design, named the “Kindness Mural,” will serve as a visual reminder of inclusion and tolerance.

The project, led by the Ridgefield Youth Commission, was prompted by anti-Semitic and racist graffiti that appeared around town over the last year, including at the high school.

Commission member and Ridgefield High School student Shane Bowler said the group started thinking of how to encourage kindness in the wake of the hateful messages.

“Everyone was kind of disgusted at the idea of that going on at school and in the community at all,” Bowler said. “We were trying to come up with ways to bring the good out of people instead of focusing on the bad of a select few, which wasn’t the image of the town we all knew was there.”

Around the same time, a member of the Ridgefield Chorale asked whether the commission would help with its “Be Human, Be Kind” initiative, an anti-bullying campaign inspired by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The foundation was created by Clementi family after the 18-year-old Rutgers University student committed suicide in 2010 because of cyber-bullying.

The commission decided that creating a mural could help in both efforts.

Members reached out to artists Joann and Bruce Hunter, who own the Art Spot in Danbury. The artists led a series of focus groups with commission members and other residents before deciding on the final abstract piece.

“We pulled together old people, young people, commission members, mothers, fathers, to talk about what kindness meant to us,” said Commission Chair Denise Qualey.

Qualey said the group agreed that the final design should not include words, so that the interpretation would be left up to the viewer. The only explanation will be a sign that accompanies the mural with its name.

Joann Hunter said although the design does not represent anything in particular, the colors and the composition of the piece will help relay its message. The artists purposefully chose yellows, oranges and reds to make up most of the mural.

“A cool color will allow you to feel some distance from the art, but these warm colors draw you in,” she said. “It’s not something you can look at and glance away.”

But the strongest message of kindness might be in how the mural is created, Hunter said.

Qualey said volunteers will include students, the town’s selectmen, business owners, nonprofit leaders and members of Ridgefield Sunrise Cottage, a community for the disabled.

“The whole point of the collaboration of this make it a kindness experience,” Hunter said. “There will be people there that don’t know each other and may not have met otherwise that will be working side by side.”

The mural will be paid for through about $10,000 in private donations the Youth Commission has collected online and through fundraising events, Qualey said. The group is still collecting online through a CrowdRise page.

Qualey said the donations — along with the support of the Board of Selectman, the Boys and Girls Club and Historical Society — have represented the message of the mural in their own way.

“It is amazing and so heartwarming to see and hear the reaction of people when we talk about his mural,” she said. “I’ve been blown away by the support and kindness.”

Hunter said in her experience, mosaic murals become a permanent part of the community because people feel ownership over something they helped make. She and her husband, both Pratt Institute grads, have been designing murals for about 20 years, she said.

Bowler said he and many other students from the high school are excited to help put the “Kindness Mural” together.

“As students we can be a part of this piece of Ridgefield history,” he said. “Years from now we can come back and look at it and say, ‘We were really working hard to bring kindness into the world.’”


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Northallerton store’s random act of kindness surprises Catterick mum

A MOTHER buying shoes for her young son found herself taking her shopping away for free when she was the recipient of a random act of kindness.

North-East footwear store Charles Clinkard had instructed its staff at its stores to choose customers at random and offer them shoes free of charge as a goodwill gesture.

Michelle Bostock, from Catterick Garrison, was in the company’s Northallerton store on Saturday when she was one of the shocked recipients of the goodwill gesture.

Susan Chappell, branch manager at Charles Clinkard’s Northallerton store, said: “Michelle came in on Saturday morning to get new shoes for her 11-month-old son Aiden. He was asleep at the time but our supervisor Abby managed to measure his feet and they returned after his nap to have his new shoes fitted.

“The whole family was lovely and it was such a great experience that we decided to offer them the shoes for free.

“Michelle was absolutely over the moon. She couldn’t quite believe it and even cried – happy tears of course. It was such a wonderful feeling to make a customer feel like that.”

The company handed over free shoes across its 32 stores on February 17, for Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Charles Clinkard, managing director, said: “We let staff pick customers to take home their shoes for free and brighten up their day.

“It might seem a bit back to front for a retailer to give things away for free, but we want to look after our customers and make them happy – it’s one of the reasons we’ve been around for more than 90 years.”


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Former Marine challenges Lodi students to perform 8,000 acts of kindness

Techno music pulsed in Lois E. Borchardt Elementary School’s cafeteria as fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders entered for a special assembly by Think Kindness on Thursday morning.

Think Kindness inspires “measurable acts of kindness in schools and communities around the world,” according to the organization’s website. Founder Brian Williams spoke at Borchardt in 2017 and inspired students to collect more than 1,700 pairs of shoes that were donated to children in Africa.

Vice Principal Cassandra Sotelo kicked off Thursday’s assembly along with the Borchardt’s Kindness Crew, a group of 10 students formed after last year’s Acts of Kindness assembly to take the lead on kindness projects. One student introduced Gary Xavier, a former Marine sniper and childhood friend of Williams, who began working with the organization in 2014.

“One of the main issues I have with kindness is that is doesn’t run deep enough. I think that serving your enemy, someone you don’t like, is what makes kindness real. It’s what makes its true power come out. In light of all the shootings that have happened, there’s been a lot of talk about legislation. What we’re concerned about is students legislating their own hearts,” Xavier said.

Xavier entered to more techno music, jumping with the audience before asking them to sit back down. Channeling his Marine Corps roots, Xavier raised the students’ energy levels by introducing the Kindness Crew, with each student’s name followed by an enthusiastic “Hoorah!” from the crowd. He used a picture of himself landing on his face after a failed backflip to show that first impressions are not always correct before explaining the similarities between being a sniper and being kind.

“To become a sniper, you have to train every single day. It’s not easy, it’s not the most glamorous thing to do. It’s sweaty, it’s really hard work. To be really kind, to be kind to someone who doesn’t want it, to be kind to someone who hurt you, that takes training. I actually think that you (students) are better teachers for doing that,” Xavier said.

Xavier used various animals to represent three personality traits that must be acquired to practice real kindness, starting with a sheep representing apathy and the desire to remain in one’s comfort zone instead of doing what is right.

“A real sheep will eat grass until it eats dirt. A real sheep will walk over the edge of a cliff following another animal. A real sheep just wants to do what feels good, it doesn’t care about doing what’s right,” Xavier said.

Xavier enlisted the help of fifth-graders Maggie Lawrence and Landon De Silva to illustrate his point. De Silva fell to the ground, pretending to be injured, and Xavier instructed Lawrence to first ignore him, the comfortable thing to do, then help him, the right thing, explaining that controlling one’s inner sheep leads to compassion, the first trait.

Xavier also told a story from his own past to show the dangers of apathy. When Xavier was 15, his father died of cancer, causing him to disregard the consequences of his actions and make poor decisions. At age 19, Xavier parked in a red zone and threw his keys at a police officer who wrote him a ticket, and was arrested for assaulting the officer.

“I’m sitting in jail and realizing that my sheep has made me sick. I am sick, I’m sitting in jail for parking in a red zone. The bad guys always lose, think about the movies you’ve seen. They might win today, but in the end, they always lose,” Xavier said.

Xavier then used a wolf to represent the danger of peer pressure, anger and lies. Wolves take advantage of those weaker than them, he explained, because their friends encourage them to do so. People succumb to peer pressure, he said, because they fear losing friends if they stand up to them.

“A wolf sees something and just wants to take it, that’s why they’re so angry. A wolf just takes what’s his, so no one else can have it. A wolf will never say ‘I’m the best,’ but they’ll say, ‘I’m better than you.’ That’s wolf talk,” Xavier said.

He had Lawrence pretend to kick De Silva, then help him, to prove his point. Xavier told the students that anyone who would tell them to hurt someone is not a real friend, and that by helping others they can make new friends who may return the favor. Controlling the wolf leads to courage — doing the right thing despite one’s own fears, he said.

He used a lion to represent the final personality trait, power, saying that kindness is “truly the only superhuman power we have.”

“You might see a new kid on the playground, who doesn’t have any friends. The sheep thing to do would be to leave them alone. The wolf thing to do would be to make fun of them, but the lion thing to do is to say: ‘What’s your name?’” Xavier said.

Xavier then gave the students their two-part mission. The first part challenges each student to complete a list of 10 acts of kindness, he said, such as helping with household chores, thanking teachers and introducing themselves to someone they don’t know.

“If you can finish these acts, this school will have done over 8,000 acts of kindness. The final act is the most challenging, and that is to do something kind for someone who has hurt you. The second part of the challenge is that every class in this school is going to do something to make this school better. You’re going to do this one big thing on top of those 8,000 acts of kindness, and you’re going to do this in 15 days! These next 15 days are yours, and I can’t wait to see what you do with them,” Xavier said.

Sotelo hopes the children will learn about compassion and the rewards of helping others through projects like cleaning up the campus, making banners to thank school staff and writing letters to students in Parkland, Fla., returning to school after last week’s tragic shooting.

“We want our students to have experiences with helping someone who might not be able to help themselves or who might not be having a good day. And what I truly want our students to understand and believe, is they have the power inside of them to make the right choice. Our children have the power inside of them to choose to be a kind person, and we need to keep telling them that until they hear us,” Sotelo said.


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Grand Pier staff show random acts of kindness

Staff at the pier, in Marine Parade, picked prize winners at random throughout the day and handed them treats which included an annual family membership, a free fish and chips meal at the Boardwalk Café, coffee and cake at the Tiffany’s Tea Room and toys.

Pier general manager Tim Moyle said: “ We are always looking for extra ways to spread a little joy on the pier and this day gave us the perfect opportunity.

“Special treats were given to lots of visitors, from families who were delighted with memberships to couples who enjoyed some fish and chips.

“Seeing the delight on their faces when they were already enjoying a fun day out was wonderful and we hope it made for a special weekend and a happy ending to the February half-term for many.”


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Bristol Rugby teams up with Nando’s to deliver random acts of kindness

Bristol Rugby players swapped their boots for aprons to support National Random Acts of Kindness Day at Nando’s Cabot Circus on Saturday, February 17th.

The day has grown in popularity each year and is celebrated by individuals, groups and organisations nationwide, to encourage acts of kindness.

Players helped to serve and cook on the grills during the two-hour lunchtime rush, while a few lucky customers were treated to a random act of kindness, receiving tickets to a game and even a signed ball when they ordered.
From left: Nick Haining, Jordon Liney, Rik Green (Nando’s), Tyler Gendall and Ollie Dawe.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to Bristol Rugby, who swapped their boots for aprons and helped us celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day,” said Rik Green, Nando’s Cabot Circus manager.

“During the day, the players helped deliver some amazing food to our customers, gave away four pairs of tickets and a signed ball to some of our lucky customers, and even managed to find time to sit down and share a cheesecake with a couple of fans.”


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Kindness Rocks spring fun for Harford families

With spring break around the corner, finding fun activities for the family.

Decorate #HarCoMDRocks

When Churchville resident Kim Bender noticed the Kindness Rocks movement taking off, she and her friend Jamie Smith wanted a place where Harford County residents to share information and ideas around the project.

“We just love the vision of the Kindness Rocks movement, which is to leave painted rocks with motivational or uplifting words and artwork for people to find and to brighten their day,” says Bender, who launched a local Facebook group with Smith last year.

All it takes to participate is a rock, paint, some imagination and a trip around the corner. Lucky folks who find the rocks can take them home or hide them for another person to find. Some post photos of found and hidden rocks to the Facebook group, which has more than 1,000 members.

The group asks that no rocks be placed inside a place of business or in places where they may cause damage, such as in the path of a lawnmower.

“I like to think that the person who finds them will smile and wonder why it was painted or just enjoy what they found,” Bender says.

Join the Facebook group “Harford County (MD) Painted Rocks – #HarCoMDRocks.” Rocks can be purchased in bulk at local hardware stores. Write “#HarCoMDRocks” on the back of your rock to direct its finders to the Facebook page.


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Acts of kindness see barrister shine a light for social mobility

Eleanor Temple is determined to give those from disadvantaged backgrounds the career opportunities.
By all accounts Eleanor Temple has had a very successful career as a commercial barrister.

She is part of the successful barristers’ set Kings Chambers, chairwoman of insolvency trade body R3 in Yorkshire and is a part-time judge.

However, the Leeds-based barrister realises that it could have been all too different if two people had not intervened.

Back in the early 90s she was at Guiseley School in Leeds. It was here that a maths teacher called Mr Vanham, who in his spare time was sitting as a magistrate, encouraged the young Eleanor Temple to do a law for interest course.

She then wound up doing an A-level in law. However, there was a catch. The Local Education Authority would not fund it. Mr Vanham instead dug into his own pockets and paid the entrance fee for her exam.

“I don’t know whether those sorts of things really happen anymore,” she said. “I was so touched by his generosity that I remember writing him a letter before I sat the exams to say that I was going to work really hard for him.”

The other person who played a role in Ms Temple becoming a barrister was Norman Jones.

Just when she was having second thoughts about whether or not to continue the long journey towards becoming a barrister, Judge Jones stepped in.

“I remember speaking to Judge Jones about it and he said: ‘Eleanor you were born to go to the bar don’t even think about doing anything else’,” Ms Temple said.

Those act of kindness and nurturing have left a lasting impression on Ms Temple and are the reason why she is interested in the notion of social mobility and helping others.

The upper echelons of the legal profession are still dominated by privately-educated white males though the winds are changing as people from more diverse backgrounds filter up the chain.

Exposure to professionals plays a big part in giving young people from less advantageous backgrounds the confidence and the contacts to break through.

“My view is, it is easier if you’ve got exposure to a judge or a doctor or a barrister to feel more confident in applying for those jobs in comparison to those people who have never spoken to a judge or a barrister or perhaps lack confidence in doing so,” said Ms Temple.

The barrister is mentoring a girl from her former school in Guiseley and hopes that acting as an example will inspire her and others like her to aim high.

Ms Temple uses former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright’s comments about there being a special place in hell for women who pull up the drawbridge behind them as inspiration.

“I think I’ve been let through the drawbridge and I’m certainly not going to pull it up after me,” she said. “I’m going to pull some more people in with me.”

The idea of social mobility needs to be more than empty platitudes, Ms Temple added, and that it shouldn’t be about creating opportunities for the sake of it but giving those that are able a chance in life, regardless of background.

“I’d like to see every child in any school thinking that all of those professions are open to them if they’re able enough,” she said. Kings Chambers will this year be running a competitive process to allow students from low income or disadvantaged backgrounds to gain industry experience.

“The idea behind that, certainly from my point of view, is just to give a bit back,” Ms Temple said. “The reason why I am where I am is because I’ve worked hard but also because I was sent in that direction by those particular individuals that I’ve mentioned.”

It’s about expanding the pool of talent from which the legal sector and other white collar professions can pick from, she said.

“Everybody ought to have the same opportunities because it’s in everybody’s interests, society and business, for the best people to get the best jobs and that’s irrespective of the background they come from,” Ms Temple added.

Ms Temple qualified as a barrister in 2000. She has seen many changes in the sector since then with technology playing an increasing role.

The old days of the wigs and gowns are on the way out. The launch of the business and property courts has updated the industry.

The Leeds-born lawyer is a keen advocate for keeping legal work in the region and she helped launched an organisation called the North Eastern Circuit Commercial Bar Association (NECCBA) which aims to promote the expertise of local commercial barristers.

Ms Temple recently took over as the chairwoman of R3, becoming the first barrister to chair the regional group. Her involvement in R3 began in 2003 and she set up the R3 Ladies Group.

“In those days, going back 15 years, women were very under-represented in the insolvency industry,” she said.

By creating a critical mass of people from minority backgrounds, it can boost diversity further and allow the cream of wider society to rise to the top, said Ms Temple. It also makes for a more harmonious society.

“The more diverse the professions, business and society are, the more harmonious the workforce,” she said.

The barrister stands as an example for women and those who don’t come from a privileged background.

She has two pieces of advice for those aspiring to achieve what she has. “The first piece of advice is believe in yourself that you can. Have a go and you might surprise yourself,” Ms Temple said. The second piece of advice is ‘run your own race’.”


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Bus driver’s incredible act of kindness sees him stop vehicle to help woman on crutches who slipped over

A bus driver showed an incredible act of kindness when he decided to stop his vehicle and help a woman who had fallen over while on crutches.

Michael Karges was out driving his route on a snowy day earlier this month when he spotted a woman on crutches walking across the street.

Waiting to turn the bus in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, US, as the woman crosses the road, she suddenly slips over and falls flat on the ground.

In video footage recorded on the bus’ camera, the woman’s crutches can be seen splayed out next to her in the road.

But without hesitation Michael, secures the bus and jumps out of his driver’s cab to go and help her.

Picking her up off the cold ground, another passerby came to help and together they got the woman to her feet.

Slowly they managed to get her across the road and even took her all the way to the shops which was two blocks away.

He then walks back to the bus and gets in his seat to carry on with the rest of his journey.

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Speaking to Fox6 Now Michael said: “Leading up to it, my first reaction when I was watching her cross the street was ‘what is she doing out here on a day like today?'”

But when he saw her fell he said he knew he had to “get this woman off the ground”.

He said: “It was almost like she was in shock. I asked her where she was going. She said she has to get to Walgreens.”

Michael has been a driver for the Milwaukee County Transit System for nearly 20 years.

But this is not the first time he’s helped someone as in 2009 he managed to reunite a missing child with his parents.

He said: “It’s all part of the job. We are almost the eyes and ears of the community, and we’re faced with these types of situations on a daily basis.”


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Homeless man’s incredible act of kindness after children stop to talk to him

A homeless man gave two children who stopped to talk to him £5 each in an incredible act of kindness.

Paul Gratrix, from Cockett , Swansea , was shopping at Aldi in Fforestfach on February 15 when he bumped into a homeless man, identified only as Shane.

He said: “For about thee years I have stopped to talk to this homeless guy Shane, who is often sat outside with his dog Bobby.

“Before I go in, I play with the dog and then either get him something or give him my pound from the trolley.

“We talk a lot about life and he knows about my kids, work, and he always asks how school is and how the kids are.

“I popped to Aldi with my daughter and youngest at around 6.30pm, we spoke to him on the way in and shopped.”

People are being urged not to give to beggars in Swansea

The 41 year-old was leaving the store when he decided to introduce his children to Shane.

“I came out and put the shopping in the car and took the trolley back, I got the pound and gave it to him and my youngest played ball with the dog.

“I realised he had never met my kids so I introduced them to him, he went towards them and said “here’s something for you” and put something in their hands, when he turned away and I could see them I could see that he had given them £5 each.

“He told me to get something nice for them, at first I didn’t know what he was giving them, I felt extremely humbled when I could see the money.”


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