April is Autism Awareness Month!

April is Autism Awareness Month!

Autism, as defined by Google, is:
1. A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships, and in…
2. A mental condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders.

This mental condition affects 1 in 88 children and it is truly a struggle for these children and their families. I have been so fortunate to meet some of the most amazing kids with autism and they are so incredible! Many of them see the world in such a way that we, as “normal” people, do not!

Today is World Autism Day, so I’m wearing blue to support the children & families of those with autism. I also am wearing blue in honor of the educators, teachers aids, school staff, nurses and doctors who work hard everyday to help find a cure! Lastly, I’m wearing blue in honor of the following children who have touched my life and made me want to know more about this mental condition: Joel, Toby, Claudia and Seline!

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Give Forward

Give Forward

I was mentioned in a tweet yesterday, asking if I could share a story. The woman’s name is Andrea Haviland and she needs your help! Organized by her daughters: Kaity & Samantha, here is a little about her story:

“Andi is a 41 year old Mother of two Daughters and she has some serious health problems to deal with for the rest of her life. Within the last ten years she has had 3 Open Heart Surgeries to replace her faulty Heart Valve and repair her Tricuspid Heart Valve. Her third surgery was unplanned and had many complications. The surgery took over 14 hours during which she suffered multiple strokes and her family was told that it didn’t look like she was going to ‘make it’ through the surgery. Andi is a fighter and did ‘make it’!”

Check out the link and donate if you can! 

 

*Note: I am not affiliated with this woman/cause. I was asked to share the story and that’s exactly what I’m doing… hoping some of my readers will donate to the cause.

Alumna Status

I never thought I would say “I miss college,” but lately, I found myself thinking back to my days on commuting/rushing to class, studying til the wee hours of the morning, cramming for a test, struggling to finish projects, gluing letters to posters, panicking when I thought I had misplaced my flash drive…. I could go on and on. But as I wake up to go to work in the morning, besides my initial thoughts of “being an adult is so overrated,” I’ve been following the statement lately with: “I miss college”

Luckily enough for me, I now live about 15 minutes away from my school and it’s also on my way to work in the mornings. I decided to visit my alma mater last week and today, actually, to “give back” to a place where I spent a great deal of time (and money!). 

After visiting my former professors, I was walking past the Office of Residence Life and remembered my first days at Chatham University. 

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I had bought a Subway gift card to give away and thought “this would be the perfect place to leave this!” 

Even though it’s against the rules to post anything without permission, I posted the gift card on the board anyway. Hopefully they don’t track me down and fine me!

My visit today was inspired by a fellow “instagrammer” — @sandehhh03 posted a picture of treats she left for students in the library, so I did the same!

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I took some sweet treats to Chatham’s J K Mellon Library and left them in random places for some hardworking girls to find. Much to my liking/dismay, there were hardly any people around. That’s nice when you’re trying to be secretive, but then who will get a treat? Maybe it’s Spring Break, so hopefully when the ladies get back, they’ll be back to studying and find awesome stuff waiting for them in the library.

As always, I love spreading kindness. It brightens my day and hopefully the recipient’s day too! It feels good to have made it through college, graduated, and able to give back “in my own way” (instead of monetarily contributing as an alumna)— I have officially achieved alumna status!

For more ideas or to keep up with what I’m doing, follow me on Twitter & Instagram @TheKindnessRule 🙂

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Help Vitamin Angels reach 1 million kids in need!!

For every view of this video, Vitamin Water will donated $0.25 to Vitamin Angels. That’s enough to buy a year’s worth of the vital Vitamin A for undernourished kids!

Simple as that. 2 minutes well spent!

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Breakfast Bags

While I enjoy doing small random acts of kindness wherever I go, I’ve always wanted to do a larger-scale project to help many others. I looked online to find some awesome charities that do great work, here in the Pittsburgh area, and came across the “Ronald McDonald House Charities.” I’ve seen the boxes at the counter in various McDonald’s and usually donate my change from my meal there, but I never really knew what they were all about.

ImageThe Ronald McDonald House is a place for parents and children who are battling illness to stay while they are receiving care/treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. It is their “home away from home” — can you imagine being uprooted from your life and not knowing how long you’ll be away? I’m not a parent (yet), but I would want to make the journey as comfortable as possible for my child. The Ronald McDonald House does a great job making lodging as comfy as possible! I had never been there before, so I didn’t know what the place would look like or how warm it would feel. The place is AMAZING! So inviting!

When I checked out their website and looked around at all the wonderful things they do and provide for families, I came across their “Wish List.” Though they provide many things to families, they do rely and accept donations of simple things to make their place feel like a real home. I could have simply donated some aluminum foil and cooking oil, but I opted for assembling “welcome”/breakfast bags for families on their way to treatment/care in the morning.

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Many times, families are in a rush or just running a little behind and don’t have time to stop for breakfast or to make anything in the kitchen. Breakfast bags are a pre-packaged brown paper bag meal to eat on the way.

I assembled each bag and included a card with an encouraging/inspiring/positive comment on the back.

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After taking 96 bags to The Ronald McDonald House and meeting the employees (and some families in the elevator), I am so sure and blessed to have been able to share these with them.

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The Ronald McDonald House does great work and I am so happy I was able to share in that for a moment.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, check out their website: http://www.rmhcpgh.org/. You might be interested in getting a group of friends, classmates, co-workers together to cook a meal for the house. They have plenty of opportunities for you to do acts of kindness!

*Thank you to The Random Acts organization for helping make this possible. You guys are the best!!

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Prank Gone…. Good!

In a short video, I managed to be inspired and cry. Crying is pretty easy for me, but this video was so creative and downright awesome!

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Everyone needs a Pep Talk!

Eek! I’ve seen this video on Facebook for weeks and haven’t watched it until today. Shame on me! It made me think back to when I was a kid and life was easy and the world seemed so big. What happened?

We have the power to go out and “create something that’ll make the world awesome!” This pep talk comes from a kid after all. Go out and do good. Watch this today and pass it along. Watch it everyday if you want, but just do something good as a result!

Free Food

For anyone who has taken an Economics class, you’ve heard the saying “there are no free lunches.” Whenever you receive (or give), it comes from something…somewhere. Sometimes, the best things in life are free and free food is definitely one of them! Free food to people who don’t have any is even better. I came across, probably accidentally, two websites that will give small amounts of food to people…. for a cost (not monetary, though!)

photo 1TheHungerSite.com is a site that has sponsors who pay for food to be donated. There is a bright yellow button you click daily and (1) cup of food is donated. I know you’re thinking “there has to be a catch?!” Nope! Simple as that. Click and donate. An act of kindness that gives free food and is free to you too! I don’t know about you, but I’m not always in a financial position to give, so this is a great way to give without breaking your bank.

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The other site I found, freerice.com, donates 10 grains of rice for every correct vocabulary word you define. It gives you a word and you find the synonym/definition and just like that, 10 grains of rice is donated! For anyone who works in an office or a college student in class, I don’t recommend  avoiding your job or school work, but if you need a distraction from all your hard work, visit freerice.com and donate some rice!

So within minutes, you can donate free food! A simple and easy act of kindness is just a click away!

It’s bitter outside!

It's bitter outside!

I woke up today feeling extremely lucky. I rolled over in my warm bed, walked downstairs to a warm living room, and when it was time to go to work, ran outside to warm up my car before it was time for me to leave. It feels like it’s -8*F outside…. it’s so bitter outside today! A 2-hr delay wasn’t enough!!

Everyday, I try to remember how lucky/fortunate/blessed I am to have everything I have. I may not thank God for it (which I should!), but I acknowledge that there are many others who don’t have what I do. My parents always taught me, “if you have it, share it” and as a child, that was difficult. I am the only girl in my family and never wanted to share with my younger brothers. As an adult, I understand the phrase to mean something deeper… I am blessed by God and because of that, I should share my blessings with others.

On my way to work today, I had a few extra minutes after dropping my brother off at school, so I stopped at Target. There wasn’t anything specific I was looking for, but as I walked down the main aisle, I saw that gloves, hats, and a few scarves were between 30-70% off. I can’t resist a sale, so I turned and made my way to the display. None of the items on sale tickled my [personal] fancy, but I thought, “man, this is a good deal!” I ended up buying 8 hats and 4 2-packs of gloves. It totaled around $15, but that’s not bad at all! I plan to pass 4 out to any homeless men/women I meet today and donate the other 4 to the school where I work.

I also stopped at the Lowe’s down the street and picked up some hand-warmers they had on sale in a value-pack. The employee at the self-checkout had to come help me put in all my singles, so we started to chat for a bit. She was telling me that she buys the hand-warmers and puts them in her shoes. I politely told her that I don’t work outside or spend much time outside so I wasn’t buying them for myself, but for the homeless. She was so surprised and said “Oh my goodness. That’s an amazing thing you’re doing!” — I always feel ashamed when I tell people about what I do or when I get caught doing something, or when I’m taking a quick picture because I don’t do it to get the recognition or praise. Then I think about it and if I mention it to someone, maybe they’ll do their own random act of kindness. My mission is to pay it forward, not only in my life, but to inspire others to do the same. If others are inspired to brighten someone else’s day, how many days could be turned around? Think about it…. then do something good!

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” – Matthew 5:8

As of lately…

I have done some random acts of kindness and haven’t had time to blog about it… so my apologies. Besides, if I blogged everyday, it would be like a second full-time job and less interesting to you. Instead, I decided to share two short stories with you. So here’s what I’ve been up to…

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Story #1: I was driving to Home Depot one day and as I was waiting at the light, there was a man with a cardboard sign, walking up and down the sidewalk. I was pretty far back, so I didn’t see what it said, but the only word that I could read was “HUNGRY.” My purse happen to spill at the same time I was reading, so I looked to see if I had some extra cash…. of course, I didn’t! Right before the light changed, I remember that I’ve bought small food gift cards when I go through the drive-thru. I had a few from McDonald’s and one from Chick-fil-A, so I pulled up, rolled my window down, and handled the man a $5 McDonald’s gift card. Felt great to know he could just walked down the street and go grab something to eat!

Story #2: I love brunch… especially on Sundays. I love the Strip District. I love great weather in winter!

ImageCombine all three of those things and you have what was a great Sunday. I went to brunch in the Strip District with my best friends. As I was paying for my parking space, I attached a Chick-Fil-A gift card to the meter. One of my friends came over, attempted to take the gift card, and said “OOOHHH what’s that?!” I quickly stopped her and said “I left that there.” Her response was awesome: “Cool. I’ve been seeing these all over the place and thought it was my lucky day” — that means there are others being kind too! My other friend said “you do that ‘pay it forward’ thing too? I’m going to start doing that!”I potentially influenced 3 people in just 1 act!! So exciting!

Needless to say, it went on to be a great Sunday. I relaxed. The weather was BEAUTIFUL. And I had some amazing little donuts… (if you’re from or ever in Pittsburgh, visit “Peace. Love. and Little Donuts” in the Strip District. The cinnamon sugar donuts are my favorite!!)

In other news, I’ve ordered more stationary for our RAKs. Groupon featured Vistaprint the other day and bought the deal. Can’t wait to get the new note cards, stickers, and iPhone case 🙂

If you have any cool kindness stories, please share with us! Email us at thekindnessrule@gmail.com, share pictures with us on Instagram by tagging #thekindnessrule or following us @TheKindnessRule on Instagram and Twitter! We love to see what you’re doing to help spread kindness wherever you are!

– J

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