It’s easy to see all the things that are wrong with our world these days. Shootings. Acts of terror. Bombs at marathons. Bullying on the playground. Hateful rhetoric. Mean-spirited Facebook debates among so-called friends. Some days, I feel exhausted by the ugliness. Defeated. But I know deep down there is more that unites us than divides us and more good in the world than bad. When I look into my daughter’s eyes, I desperately want to see a world full of kindness reflected back. I want her to grow up being nice to people, showing kindness to those who are different than her and making the right choices, even when they aren’t easy. I want her to be grateful and thoughtful. Conscientious and courageous. It’s a tall order in these times of ours, but I’m determined to lay the best possible foundation.
That’s where my idea for a new project I’m launching today was hatched. Welcome to our 12 Months of Kindness Project. Each month during 2018, I am organizing a philanthropic activity for my daughter and I to do together that makes our community a better place. I’ve chosen causes and organizations I feel passionate about, particularly related to women, families and children. I’ll share a recap of our project each month so you can see what we’re doing and hopefully get a boost of positive, happy energy to overshadow the negativity. Being healthy isn’t confined just to running and fitness here on runladylike.com. I’m striving for complete wellness in mind, body and soul.
I know my daughter will likely have no memories of her second year on this planet when she’s older. That’s not the point. My hope is that instilling the values I’d like our world to embrace more fully will go a little ways in solidifying the person she will become.
Here are the organizations and activities we’ll be supporting this year:
12 Months of Kindness Project: The Causes
- Soles4Souls: Dedicated to ending poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world
- The Alpha House of Tampa: Offers homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children safe temporary housing and the tools they need to become self-sufficient and effective, responsible parents
- Girl Scouts: Inclusive, all-female environment that offers life-long leadership development for girls designed to help them build a strong sense of self, seek challenges and learn from setbacks, display positive values, form and maintain healthy relationships and identify and solve problems in the community
- March of Dimes: Leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies by supporting women throughout their pregnancy, advocating for policies that prioritize maternal health, supporting improvements to maternal care and pioneering research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies
- John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: Our local children’s hospital that provides expert pediatric care for infants, children and teens with some of the most challenging medical problems in our community and around the world; named a top 50 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report providing care in more than 43 pediatric medical and surgical sub-specialties and having more than half of its 259 beds devoted to intensive care level services
- Special Olympics: Transforms lives through the power of sports for people with intellectual disabilities, helping them discover new strengths, abilities, skills and success; athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment on the playing field and in life. The organization supports more than 5.7 million athletes in 172 countries, including more than 38,000 here in Florida.
- The Spring: Dedicated to preventing domestic violence, protecting victims of domestic violence and promoting change by providing housing and services to abused adults and their children so they can rebuild their lives and thrive
- Hospice: Committed to improving the quality of life for people at the end of their life and their loved ones by serving as the model for quality, compassionate care through expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support
- Feeding Tampa Bay: Part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry in the 10-county area of West Central Florida
- Kindness Cards: We will create cards and put them in small bags with notes, gift cards, cash and other goodies and leave them in surprising places for strangers to find. Read more about this idea here.
- Race Volunteer: We will volunteer at a local race (race to be determined) either handing out water, volunteering at the expo or assisting in any way the race director needs additional support.
- Homeless Bags: We will create care bags to give to homeless people in our community, including items such as water, non-perishable food items, toiletries and more. We will keep them in our cars and under our stroller to distribute when we see people in need.
Please join us! Sometimes it’s hard to feel like we are making a difference as individuals, but when we band together, our impact could be life-changing and lifesaving. Pick the causes and community organizations that mean something to you where you live and join Baby rUnladylike and me in doing at least one act of kindness each month.
What charities are closest to your heart? Please consider joining our effort where you live and let us know how you plan to give back.