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Touching the Lives of Others With Random Acts of Kindness

February 29, 2024

Have you ever noticed how a little kindness from someone else can brighten your day? Kindness can be as simple as paying someone a compliment, or letting a fellow shopper go ahead of you in the checkout line if they only have a couple items to pay for. Often, being kind doesn’t cost a cent and takes only a few seconds. But the recipient of an act of kindness may remember the gesture for a very long time.

Acts of kindness are usually rewarding for those who do them, too, even though that’s seldom the reason for being kind.

Here’s something else about acts of kindness: They tend to spread. Someone who feels the effects of another person’s kindness can be inspired to “pay it forward” with an act of kindness toward someone else.

Celebrating Kindness in February and All Year Long

If you do an online search using the phrase “random acts of kindness day,” you’ll find that here in the U.S. the day is celebrated on February 17. The week leading up to Random Acts of Kindness Day is, as you may have guessed, Random Acts of Kindness Week. 

According to the website Days of the Year, National Random Acts of Kindness Day originated in Denver, Colorado, in 1995 with a small nonprofit organization called the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation®.

Nearly a decade later, the concept took root in New Zealand, where Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated nationwide on September 1 each year.

There’s also World Kindness Day, which is celebrated annually on November 13. The designation was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, an organization formed in Tokyo.

Each of these serve as reminders that people everywhere can benefit from showing and receiving a little extra kindness. And you don’t have to wait for a special day to do something kind!

How We Celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Month This Year

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which consists of volunteers among staff and residents, came up with a Random Acts of Kindness & Appreciation initiative.

Paper hearts containing various suggestions for simple acts of kindness and appreciation were available at the concierge desk to everyone in the community. Anyone who wanted to participate could choose a heart, complete the act and then hang the heart on a “kindness tree” in the lobby.

Residents and staff members who did unprompted acts of kindness were encouraged to write the act on a blank paper heart and add it to the kindness tree.

As the month progressed, everyone could see the kindness tree blossom with our community’s collective kindness.

Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness Count, Too

A quotation attributed to Aesop reminds us, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Residents at Emerald Heights engage in acts of kindness all the time. Many of these acts are quite intentional — and that, of course, is always a good thing. Brooke Jones, vice president of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, wrote a blog post that advocates for making intentional acts of kindness “the norm” in our daily life.

These are both great examples of how Emerald Heights residents show kindness to their neighbors throughout the community:

Cards for Corwin

The Cards for Corwin program started during the pandemic, when safety protocols meant residents needed to limit their interactions with others in order to protect their health. This was especially true for those in our Corwin Center, which is where residents who need assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing live.

To help residents in the Corwin Center stay connected with others, a group of volunteers in our independent living neighborhood began writing notes in greeting cards that were delivered to every person in the Corwin Center.

The program was such a success, it’s still going strong today.

According to Trudy Vering, a retired nurse practitioner who is on the Health and Wellness Committee and has participated in the program from the start, around 45 volunteers write notes in the greeting cards. Residents in the Corwin Center receive a couple cards each month.

Trudy says that while the volunteers don’t always know the residents they’re writing to, it’s a great way for those in the Corwin Center to connect with their neighbors in independent living. 

“Everybody likes to get a little mail,” she says, adding that the program “has been really well received.”

The Emerald Heights Mentor Program

Trudy and another Emerald Heights resident oversee the Mentor Program in our community, which is designed to help new residents become acclimated to their surroundings once they move in.

The program is voluntary, both for mentors and mentees. Residents volunteer to “sponsor” new people who have recently moved to Emerald Heights, which is basically helping them become familiar with all that’s available, including the many activities and resident-led groups.

The program started around the same time Trudy moved to Emerald Heights from Florida, nearly nine years ago. She says her own experience with the woman who served as her mentor was so positive, she’s happy to be able to play a part in helping others have a similar experience.

Trudy also points out residents at Emerald Heights have many other options for volunteering their time and skills. All of these efforts can be considered acts of kindness, whether random or intentional.

Suggestions for Your Own Acts of Kindness

If you’d like to add more kindness to the lives of others (along with more “feel good” to your own life), the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation offers plenty of ideas and resources to help you get started. You can also check out its Daily Dose of Kindness® and its Kind Blog.

Here are a few kindness ideas, courtesy of the organization:

  • Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you.

  • Say hi to the person standing next to you on the elevator.

  • Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter, or buy some pet food to donate.

  • Write a thank-you note to someone who has made a difference in your life.

  • Smile at the people who walk by you.

  • Tell a friend or neighbor how much they mean to you.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to be kind to yourself! Spend some time today doing something you love. Write yourself a message of kindness on a sticky note and place it where you’ll see it throughout the day. Give yourself a smile when you look in the mirror. It’s that easy.

Let Us Show You Some Kindness

We truly appreciate how all of the gestures of kindness our residents show one another (and our staff members, as well) make our community such a delightful place to live and work.

Come see for yourself how kindness flows here at Emerald Heights. Contact us to arrange a personal visit, or check out our upcoming events and plan to attend any that appeal to you.