In 2008, my little girls and I embarked upon a personal challenge: performing one good, charitable or otherwise helpful deed every single day for the year, and sharing those activities via the blogosphere. The point of sharing was not to brag, but to inspire, and in that year, we learned about new opportunities to serve, did for friends, family and strangers alike and perhaps grew a little more compassionate.
Since then, we've had a lot going on, but lessons learned that year have not been lost on us. We've continued contributing to our communities through volunteerism, though we haven't taken the time to write about our activities here.
After the horrific school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, one of my favorite columnists, Ann Curry, challenged the world to perform 20 acts of kindness in honor of each of the people killed. She tweeted about it, and the idea took hold, expanded to 26 acts, even 27 or 28. Just imagine if every person in the nation, let alone every person in the world, committed 20 acts of kindness, or 26, or 27, or more.
Since then, I've been reading about loads of charitable acts spurred by Curry's "Are You In?" challenge. The twittersphere is abuzz with ideas, whether 20 Acts or 26 Acts. Some are super simple, some perhaps questionable, and there have been some big acts as well.
But before mental illness took the life of its host victim and 26 others, people across the interwebs were posting about their efforts to give back to community. Here some posts that might provide us all some inspiration for another Year of Living Charitably.
Are You In?
50 Random Acts - Our fellow Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler, Kris, has begun her own random act mission. She's begun with a great list of ideas, inspired by various people in her world. She's a great example of finding acts that meet you where you are. Not everyone gets out every day. Not everyone has even the five bucks to buy someone a cup of expensive, froo-froo coffee. But everyone can perform a charitable deed within their own means.
Guerrilla Goodness - Scroll down for a list of "missions" this blogger completed.
Intentional Acts of Kindness - Final thoughts on a year of kind acts, plus his favorites detailed.
366 Random Acts - This blogger wraps up her year (2012) of random acts, including links to a few of her favorites.
Random Acts/Make A Difference - Lots of folks share their stories on this blog.
Mom to Mom: 26 Acts - This blog post shares a Facebook story which may or may not be entirely true, but there's also a sample of a postcard that commemorates the fallen from Sandy Hook Elementary.
Leaps of Kindness - There are lots of fun ideas on this blog. This links to one of my favorites: tiara care packages. Will they change the world, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, bring world peace? No, but lifting spirits can lead to positivity that continues to spread beyond the recipient.
Action for Happiness - This organization strives to inspire people to help each other and bring about happiness in everyone's lives.
In Memory of John: Full-Moon Memorial Acts - John Pike's mother has been blogging about monthly acts of kindness performed in memory of her son who died at age 23. She's asked others to remember his kindness by sharing acts of their own on every full moon.
The Great Kindness Challenge - August 10, 2013 is challenge day this year. Are you in? The site includes a list of ideas that may provide inspiration.
And just in case those weren't enough, check out Raising Lifelong Learners' Ultimate Guide to Random Acts of Kindness with links to loads of others.
"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine