Tag: #GiveBack

Students help make the world better!

Students help make the world better!

Over Thanksgiving break, my husband and I were driving in the car and I said to him, “I really miss my students.  I hope they are enjoying their break, but I’ll be happy to see them again.”  Thanksgiving is a time when we often emphasize how thankful we are for our friends and families, but I also want to emphasize how thankful I am for my students.  After all, these students change my life on a daily basis – teaching me as much about life as I teach them.  Teaching is also what got me out of my 3+ years of random and chaotic employment.  I was thankful for that time and the lessons that it afforded me, but I am even more thankful of the purpose that teaching and my students give me.

I recently hosted my giving back and kindness lesson in class.  It’s my absolute favorite lesson to teach.  I bring in cookies for my students and we create cards together for senior citizens, terminally ill children, and military personnel.  It’s an amazing and fun time.  The students get creative, write thoughtful notes, and draw very meaningful pictures to raise the spirit of others.

In October, I turned 31 which meant it was time to embark on a new year of random acts of kindness.  This is my 4th year to dedicate my birthday to giving back and spreading kindness into the world.  It means that I will do a minimum of 31 random acts of kindness this year.  The more you do it the easier it becomes and you realize how much you love it.  You will probably end up doing far more than your minimum once you start.  I challenge you this #GivingTuesday to use your birthday to give back.  Get your workplace to create cards to send, bake cookies for nursing home staff, or give a gift card to a random stranger by placing it under their windshield!  Life’s too short not to spread more kindness!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

 

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Change the life of cancer patients!

Change the life of cancer patients!

It may seem expensive, unrealistic, or even hard to change the life of others without having lots of disposable income.  It’s true that some things cost money when it comes to giving back.  Buying cookies and sweets for the local police and fire departments costs money, buying surprise cards or gifts for strangers costs a little money (though, not much), but some things cost nothing.  Writing a note to a veteran and placing it on their windshield, complimenting a stranger, answering questions for those that are lost, or donating hair to help cancer patients doesn’t really cost anything.

I traded places with a woman in the post office recently who was running late to babysit.  It didn’t cost me anything but a few minutes of time and it brightened her day more than you might have imagined.  A week or so later there was a couple in a metered parking lot who were getting ready to put change in the meter, but couldn’t figure out how much, but I yelled across the lot and said you don’t have to pay on Sundays.  They were grateful for the response and it was a simple gesture for me to save them the time and money.

This past week I did one more thing that I hold particularly close to my heart.  I donated 9 inches of hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  This makes 39 total inches donated so far to help change the lives of total strangers who are battling cancer.  Who wouldn’t want to change the life of a cancer patient if they could?  It’s simple yet means the world to someone else.  I have watched several women I know battle cancer, making it a particular cause that’s important to me.  A cause my grandpa would be equally proud of as he watches from heaven, looking down and asking me, “Did you use Pantene Pro-V?” as he used to do as he admired my shiny, black hair.

I hope these short stories inspire you to make a difference, big or small, in your community, city, and in the world around you.  Go change the life of someone else, specifically a stranger in need of care, support, and kindness.  After all, it’s often strangers that are often facing more battles than we often even realize.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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An open letter about kindness!

An open letter about kindness!

I just celebrated my 30th birthday a little over a month ago.  It’s always an exciting time to celebrate my birthday, not because I get gifts or eat my favorite local pizza, but because it starts a new year of random acts of kindness.  It’s a new year of pledging to do a minimum of 30 different surprises of giving back, helping others, and spreading more kindness out into the world.  The world has enough craziness, chaos, and uncertainty in it that every little bit of kindness helps.

My ultimate dream through my random acts of kindness is to be the person on Ellen that gets to surprise a deserving family or person of something extraordinary that will change their life – notifying someone they will be able to provide presents for their kids on Christmas, a new car that allows them to get to work safely, helping a college student pay for tuition who may not otherwise have the opportunity, supporting a food drive or coat drive, etc.  My favorite acts of kindness are the random ones to strangers and people I barely know.

So, one day I hope to be that person that can spend an entire day(s) or hour(s) surprising others with things that will change their life.  After all, when you spread kindness and give back you are changing the world one good deed at a time.  Keep that in mind today and every day, not just around the holiday season, on #GivingTuesday, #SmallBusinessSaturday, or during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And, remember to join me on the #ProjectKindnessBook pledge and follow my Project Kindness by using your birthday as the minimum number of times you give back, help others, and spread kindness throughout the year. Use #ProjectKindnessBook in your post to show you have made the commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and changing the world around you.

Simple and easy ideas include leaving a note for a veteran, baking cookies for your local police or fire department, reaching out and thanking your child’s teacher, leaving a large tip for a server, buying someone’s coffee or meal, and donating food and coats throughout the year.  My high school students created cards for veterans, the elderly, and sick children this week to celebrate others.  This small project helps the students see how their gesture can change the life of someone else.  Keep spreading cheer and kindness…it’s the best gift you can give during the holiday season and every day throughout the year!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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The mountains we call life!

The mountains we call life!

As if we haven’t heard it a thousand times that life is full of highs and lows and twists and turns.  It’s something our parents tell us, our teachers told us, and something you can hear and witness every single day.  Sometimes life seems glamorous when we are young (and, it certainly is at times and most definitely more times than not!), but it isn’t always glamorous.  And, it is important to teach your children this, your students this, and all the people around you this.  It makes that fall to the ground a little bit less painful in the end.

I am a new teacher surrounded by many veterans, but we all have bad days, the ones who are new and the ones that have tons of experience.  I was recently evaluated and the class didn’t really go as planned, not at all, not even a little bit.  It was stressful, chaotic, and more than anything it felt like a bit of a failure.  That day was you guessed it…a mountain.  But then again, in life, almost every single day is going to present you with a mountain (or hill) of some kind.  It’s the reality and we must come to accept that when we plan things out in our head and they go in a complete different direction we recognize it is as a learning experience and not a failure.  Now, not all people will lead you to believe this – you may not have friends, family, bosses, supervisors, leaders, or people that believe that a loss of profit, a bad decision, or a poor evaluation is a learning experience, but it is.

My evaluation did turn into a learning experience and a lesson to stick in my pocket.  It’s one I can carry with me.  That evaluation will make me a better person even if I would like to forget about it.  This leads to the last part.  I work with a wide range of students.  Some that have family and a great home and others that aren’t sure where they will sleep that night.  Students that eat out often and others that aren’t sure when their next meal will come.  It came at just the perfect time.  Less than 24 hours later I received a note about the impact I was having on several students.

What’s the point of sharing these highs and lows?  Because it’s life.  You can translate this to your own life, job, relationships, and chaos.  Life is full of moments where you feel like you have reached the peak of the mountain and feel like you have met success, but you will also find challenges and frustrations right around the corner.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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