Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Dare You to Care!

As most of you who are reading this are aware, we do whatever we can to give back and try to encourage our Frikes (our lovely followers) to do the same. Paying it forward is more than a motto, it's a lifestyle, and we are always looking for ways to inspire and assist those who need it most. There are hundreds of requests for help or causes that we unfortunately don't have the time or the resources to take on, and there are so many people looking for inspiration and ideas to help out that we decided the best way to handle this would be our most recent project: I Dare You to Care!

Here's how it works. We have all heard of employers, businesses, and corporations offering to match donations in an effort to encourage fundraising and awareness. What we would like to do is encourage you to challenge each other in a similar way.

Choose something that is important to you that you are willing or able to do, and challenge the audience to meet your offer. Someone reading will reply to you, accepting your dare and will complete the action, and prove it with photos if possible. (We'd love to see pictures of caring in action!) Then, you complete the action, too! OR, look through the list of dares for an idea of how you can make a difference, and accept the dare. Complete the action and watch it unfold as your challenger now does the same!

This not only doubles the efforts, but inspires others in new and creative ways. Lots of people are looking for ideas of how to make a difference, and this turns it into a fun game where you can participate in something meaningful to you, encourage others to help along the way, and see twice the effort for your time and energy! It's a win-win.

For example, if you are willing to donate a backpack filled with school supplies to a local elementary school, you would comment on this blog or on the link on Facebook that you dare someone to fill a backpack with school supplies and donate it to a school. If you are the person who reads someone else's dare here or on the Facebook page and are willing to meet the challenge, you reply in comments that you accept their dare. (Make sure you comment in response to the dare so everyone knows what you are doing!) In this instance, you'd take a picture of the backpack and supplies, or yourself handing it to the school staff, so we have a picture of the sharing- what we'd like to do is share the pictures alongside one another so we can show everyone the impact of your caring in action!

You can challenge people to do anything that matters- share a status on their wall that raises awareness, volunteer at a food bank, meet your cash donation to a charity- ANYTHING! As long as you are willing and able to complete your own dare, anything positive and worthwhile is fair game. So get creative, and let's see what we can do!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Operation Welcome Home!

One of our Sofia's Angels reached out today with the wonderful idea of raising funds to help cover welcome home baskets for soldiers who will be returning from Afghanistan to Fort Campbell this September. Many of these young men and women are single and will be living in barracks. After a long and arduous service to our nation, celebrating their safe return with the comforts of home will be most welcome. Instead of hosting a fundraiser, we decided to bring her idea to this blog and ask our readers to contribute what they can in order to help meet the needs of these brave men and women.

Here is the list that was provided for us as suggestions for what they need most:

  • round laundry baskets
  • laundry supplies
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • sample sizes of shampoos and conditioners, soaps, razors, lotions, and other toiletries
  • shaving cream
  • nonperishable snacks (ex: Poptarts, chips, granola bars, Gatorade, pudding cups)
  • paper plates
  • plastic silverware
  • disposable coffee cups
  • bath towels
  • hand towels
  • washcloths
  • large Ziplock bags
  • pillows

This list is only a suggestion; any and all donations of comfort items and necessities are welcome. Gift cards to Walmart are also a great suggestion, so soldiers can purchase any necessary items- and, they're easy to ship!

If you wish to help donate, please send packages, gift cards, or even letters of thanks to:

2LT Logan Byers
HQ/2-44 ADA
6746 A Shau Valley Rd
Ft. Campbell, KY 42223

We are excited to put our support behind such an incredible effort, and hope that everyone takes a moment to share this link and help spread the word. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RAOK Updates and News

We have lots of news in the random acts of kindness (RAOK) department! The Sofia's Angels Foundation is now an officially licensed non-profit organization with the goal of helping those in need. Originally a group of women teaming up for the Susan G. Komen walk, the Angels have now expanded to include friends, family, and even random strangers who have been inspired to participate in the mission. If you wish to link your RAOK activity with this worthwhile cause, please contact Cathy for cards to leave behind! Please show your support and follow Sofia's Angels on Facebook.

One of our most exciting recent projects was leaving a thousand dollars in $10 bills randomly around Boston last Tuesday, but not everything has to be so profound. Here are some RAOK ideas to inspire you!

  • Take the time to talk with a cashier at the register and show them recognition. Slow down and appreciate the people around you!
  • Use your talents to help a friend. If you're good with kids, babysit for a neighbor so they can go out on a date or have some alone time. Help someone clean their house, mow their lawn, or bring a friend or family member a dessert. Use what comes naturally to share joy with others!
  • Send flowers to the hospital and ask them to decide who needs them most.
  • Become an organ donor.
  • Praise your partner with a genuine compliment.
  • Hand out popsicles in the neighborhood or on campus for a refreshing treat.
  • Pass on a coupon or savings you won't be using.

There are millions of things you can do to bring someone more joy and happiness in their lives. Even the smallest gestures of kindness can change someone's life. You never know if the person you smile at on the streets needed to know just one person cared about them.

And kindness is contagious! Inspiring others to help is as simple as showing them how easy it can be. Author Dete Meserve recently wrote a book about RAOK called "Good Sam," and the hype from the book has created a ripple effect of connecting with real life good samaritans who are making a difference in the lives of others. Cathy will be heading to Los Angeles next week to perform some RAOK in California and will additionally be honored along with another good samaritan, Daniel Smith (featured in our blog in the past!) at the book launch event on June 22 in Downtown Los Angeles! In an exciting return of kindness, Dete Meserve has arranged for anonymous donors to contribute funds in order to continue the efforts of Cathy and Daniel's random acts of kindness.

Thank you for taking the time to catch up on our latest news. We appreciate your support and, as always, your help.

"People who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs

Friday, April 4, 2014

Daniel Smith's four weeks of random kindness

Sometimes, exceptional people and their kindness catch our attention and we wish to bring them the accolades they deserve- one such person is Daniel Smith of Salt Lake City, Utah. Daniel created a $125 a week budget to perform four weeks of random acts of kindness, but was soon laid off from his job. At first, he was feeling distraught and concerned but quickly decided not to let the job loss become so overpowering that he lost sight of his goal.

Armed with the money he had already saved and a videographer, Daniel hit the streets, taping his charitable acts in hopes of inspiring others to follow suit. For the first week of his random acts of kindness, Daniel handed out a dozen care packages of blankets and snacks to the homeless. (Click the links to view the videos of how it all turned out!)

During week two, Daniel worked the drive thru window at Great Steak restaurant in Provo, passing out the meals he had anonymously paid for and enjoying the reactions of customers as they received the good news. He was touched by the way something so simple was able to brighten the lives of nearly a dozen people, all through paying for one small meal.

In week three, Daniel handed out gift cards in the Wal-Mart parking lot. While some people walked past him, ignoring his efforts, others were receptive and even needed the help. One man admitted that he was laid off as well and really appreciated the card. Another woman, at first skeptical and cold, finally broke down into tears and shared that she had struggled lately and the card really helped her out.

Daniel has one week left to his personal goal of four weeks of random acts of kindness, and we would so like to see him succeed that we wish to sponsor his generosity and provide the funding necessary for him to carry out whatever he wishes. Daniel, thank you for continuing to give despite your personal hardships and thank you for caring about those around you- we appreciate your efforts and we are glad to know you!

You can support Daniel by following his page on Facebook!

Monday, March 17, 2014

RAOK & The Tutu Project

A few of my closest friends (including some of the incredible Sofia’s Angels) and I will be traveling to New York this weekend to show support for the Carey Foundation. We will don our lovely pink tutus for a photo shoot and bring along a $1,000.00 donation to help support families impacted by breast cancer.

The Carey Foundation was started by Bob and Linda Carey after Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Starting off as a photography project, The Tutu Project became so successful that the nonprofit foundation was established.

A year ago this weekend, Linda’s mother Betty passed away. While we are in New York, we are going to honor Betty’s memory and the long year without her with 365 random acts of kindness. Among Betty’s favorite things were flowers and gambling, so included in our acts of kindness are flower hair bows, bouquets of flowers, and scratch tickets for New York and New Jersey, as well as Dunkin Donuts gift cards, Wawa cards, metro cards, paying to fill up someone’s gas tank, paying for a breakfast, lunch, and dinner while out, handing out dollar bills, giving one homeless person $50, giving out Hershey’s Kisses, and passing out hats created by Mary of Mary Originals, who generously donated her time and energy.

 Linda's mother, Betty
We are pleased to be able to spread joy and love in honor of Betty and to show our friendship and support to Linda during such a difficult time, all while supporting the tremendous efforts of the Careys and their incredible foundation and project.

Flower hair bows

A screen shot of the cards that will be handed out with our RAOK gifts

Please feel free to spread the love and create your own random kindness this weekend in memory of this special woman. If you do, share your stories below- we will show Linda the replies and support.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Lego" of a Little Love

A year ago, on March 2, 2013, ten year old Mitchell Jones passed away after a long struggle with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscular degenerative disease. Mitchell's short but beautiful life was chronicled nearly daily by his doting father, who kept up a Facebook page and blogged regularly about his ailing son.

One of the things Mitchell's family says he is most remembered by is his love for all things Lego. In the past, we organized a donation drive for Lego gifts to donate to the Boston Children's Hospital. We would like to resurrect this theme but do things a little differently this time...

Our last project centered around critically ill children who spent hours and sometimes years in hospital beds and needed an outlet for creativity and fun. Now we would like to surprise random children who are not hospitalized and touch their lives with Mitchell's influence.

The Lego Movie is currently in theaters. We will be purchasing ten tickets (to represent Mitchell's age) to The Lego Movie as a random act of kindness in his memory. Recipients of these tickets will be given this note:

"Your tickets today to The Lego Movie were paid for in memory of Mitchell Jones, a ten year old boy who passed away a year ago today of Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. Mitchell loved Lego and lived a life worth honoring. Please enjoy your film and keep him in your heart."

We would also like to organize another Lego drive of a different variety. We are asking that whoever is able to contribute please send a small set of Lego to us so we can randomly hand them out to children in passing. Included with the set will be a letter handed their parents that will read as follows:

"The Lego set your child received today was generously donated by one of many anonymous people who wish to honor the memory of Mitchell Jones. Mitchell was a ten year old boy who passed away on March 2, 2013 of Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. He loved Lego and we are pleased to spread the joy of playing with his favorite toy on to another child who will appreciate it. Please accept this gift as an outreach of Mitchell's love for life and take a moment to play with your child in his memory."

Please send your contributions no later than March 14. Lego sets can be sent to:

Cathy’s Creations
P.O. Box 28 
Watertown, MA 02471

In order to make this endeavor a success, we need your help. If you cannot purchase sets, please consider sharing this blog with others and helping us expand our reach.

Anyone who wishes to support Parent Project MD through the purchase of a Mitchell’s Journey Pendant is invited to view our listing on our website. All proceeds are donated directly.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to honor Mitchell. Please take a moment to view a touching video created by Mitchell's father that adequately explains why we strive so hard to create lasting positive memories in the name of this amazing young man.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chad's Fight - 318 Random Acts of Kindness

Chad was a 29 year old father of two young boys and the loving husband of my dear friend Colleen when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma. After fighting a brave battle for 318 days, Chad sadly passed away leaving his young family behind. Colleen, through her pain, has bravely held her family together since Chad’s untimely passing, and has continued to motivate and inspire me to carry on helping families who face similar struggles. You can find out more about Chad’s fight against cancer and his family’s story here.

Colleen, Chad, and their sons

Next week, Colleen will be flying into Boston from Wisconsin and she and I, along with a couple friends, will be completing 318 Random Acts of Kindness to honor each day of Chad’s fight with cancer.  Throughout the city, we have plans to make several stops- we will be placing fifty cards for a free subway ride at the station, and buying five coffees for strangers. We will then head to the hospital and begin placing a hundred lottery tickets randomly around the floors of the hospital as we go through! In the surgical waiting area, we will hand out cancer ribbon cookies to the anxious families waiting for their loved ones. At the children’s hospital and the local grocer, we will be placing sixty quarters on the machines for kids to enjoy, and will be giving area restaurants fifty packs of gum to hand out to patrons when they deliver their check. To end our amazing day together, we will pay for three meals for random people while we’re out. Additionally, we have decided to hand out 250 “survival kits” for nurses to show appreciation and boost moral and 150 care packages to Thornton and Naumes House, the Hope Lodge, and the Beacon House. All lodging facilities for adults with cancer.

The random acts of kindness are funded by Superheroes Fighting Cancer (visit their FB here.) Superheroes Fighting Cancer is a Nonprofit Organization created to support parents who are fighting their own battle with cancer.

During the day, we also have an interview set up with the local news station to help share Chad’s story and to encourage others to reach out and spread a little joy, especially through their sorrows.

Although Chad’s time here has come to an end, his story is not over. On his behalf, we will personally reach out to 318 people who might need a positive moment or a helping hand, and we will continue to be his voice to thousands through exposure on the news and online.

Thank you for taking the time to share this moment with us and encourage our journey to honor Chad!