Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

For the past few months and especially throughout the AtoZ Challenge I have been focusing my blog posts on Random Acts of Kindness as a means to start promoting my own major kindness project, B(e) Kind 366. In 2016 I'll be embarking on a kindness journey, performing a random act of kindness every day of the year! Today's post still falls in line with my ongoing kindness theme, but this time it's a call to kindness from YOU, my lovely visitors!

On April 17th, I started a new chapter of my life as the Executive Director of The Women's Resource Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. This position brings together two of my life's passions: feminism (a.k.a. women's rights) and the not-for-profit world. It has been approximately six weeks since I began my journey and I am loving it more every day.

Jodi Wyman, TWRC Board Chair
and myself.

The Women's Resource Centre's mission is to provide programs, services, and counselling on issues affecting women including family violence, while encouraging respect, diversity and equality with a feminist perspective. Our vision is to be an organization dedicated to providing support, empowerment and mentoring for all women and their families. The Centre's goals are to provide the women of Western Manitoba with education and counselling on domestic violence; to provide Brandon and rural women access to information on cultural, economic, educational, health, legal, and social services; to coordinate and support projects which promote women's equality; and to create a space for women to meet in a place of their own to network and share information. Our promise is to do all that we can for the women of our community. We will reach out, and keep and open door to all women. No matter the situation, we are committed to guiding and supporting women in a non-judgemental, positive environment. Freedom is the right to stand strong and hold your head high no matter the past.

Throughout the month of June, is running The Great Canadian Giving Challenge. Every dollar (minimum $3) that is donated through The Women's Resource Centre's Giving Page gives us a chance to win $10,000. If you donate $3 we get 3 entries into the draw. If you donate $100 we get 100 chances. Easy, peasy, right?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Connection Through Kindness (A #1000Speak Post)

May 20th marks month four of 1000 Voices for Compassion, an amazing movement of bloggers coming together to flood the blogosphere with posts dedicated to compassion. The kickoff in February was simply themed "Compassion," March was "Building Beyond Bullying," and April was "Nurture." May's theme is "Connection" and you can read all of the beautiful pieces by visiting the 1000 Speak link up. We post on the 20th of every month so if becoming a part of our community is something that interests you, please keep in touch and join us with your own post in June.

Once again, my 1000 Speak post will be directly connected to my own special project: B(e) Kind 366. In 2016, I'll be doing a Random (or not) Act of Kindess every day of the year to raise funds for charity. Throughout the month of April I blogged A to Z, listing Random Acts of Kindess that begin with each letter of the alphabet. It was a blast!

Today I want to talk about the connections that RAKing, and really just kindness in general, creates. On June 13th I'll be participating in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life with my husband, best friend, and a group of her friends some of whom I've met and some whom I have not. We've all connected through our dedication to a cause that touches us all in some way.

One year, at my place of employment at the time, instead of purchasing gifts for one another like we usually did, my colleagues and I decided to adopt a family through Christmas Cheer. We connected over the purchase of food and gifts and shared in the delight of the family when we arrived with "Christmas" at their door.

A few years ago, my Mom and I spent Christmas Day serving turkey dinner to the community with Westman and Area Traditional Christmas Dinner. It was one of the best Christmases, and days in general, that I've ever had and I connected in a very special way with my Mom.

Just today, I put an ideas from my "Random Acts of Kindness beginning with P" list into motion. I mailed a Purple Box of Power to my closest friend from grad school. I met her during the first week and as soon as I found out that she was a Canadian prairie girl like me, we were connected for life! It's been two months since I moved back to Manitoba and she stayed in New Brunswick. While we were in the same city, we were each others' support system. I just know that this collection of purple "power" items will be a much appreciated surprise.

Nearly every day after I come home from work, I take my small dog, Memphis, for a walk. Since I've returned home from school my husband and I joke that we should change Memphis' name to Velcro because it is rare that he is not attached to me. I have a special connection with my little Pom-Chi and the best part is that our mutual love calms our anxiety (yes, Memphis and I both battle anxiety on a daily basis).

Random acts of kindness like leaving an extra generous tip for your server at a restaurant, telling a parent in the grocery store how well-behaved their children are, complimenting a stranger on their coat/hat/shoes, holding a door open for the person behind you, or even just smiling at someone you pass on the street all create, at the very least, fleeting, but often lasting connections with the recipients of your kindness. Those people are highly likely to tell a co-worker, friend, family member about "that nice thing that happened to them today," creating a chain of connections and inspiration to pay that kindness forward, through one simple act!

Go forth and be kind! The connections you will make in the process are truly invaluable!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Reflections

A-Z is over and I made it! I had to cheat a bit at the end (due to poor health) by turning the final eight letters into two posts, but I made it! I blogged Random Acts of Kindness ideas for twenty-six letters and it was amazing! I listed 170 words and 365 acts! That means that if I actually perform every one of the acts I listed, I will have enough to complete B(e) Kind 366 - the whole reason behind posting all of these acts of kindness. 

I had a blast compiling each of the alphabetized posts and, judging from some of the comments I received, people enjoyed reading them. 

I have to give a huge virtual pat on the back to all of the A to Z Hosts! I was impressed each and every time one of them visited my blog. Jeremy Hawkins was the very first co-host to stop by and wish me well. S. L. Hennessy inspired my "If Jane Austen blogged A to Z" post and also paid me the best compliment I could have received by saying that my theme was one of the best she'd seen in the challenge. Aw shucks! Lisa stopped by to say how much she enjoyed my posts and C. Lee McKenzie is now my most recent follower. Alex J. Cavanaugh offered up a few ideas to add to my list and even the mastermind Arlee Bird himself stopped by a few times. That makes SIX co-hosts who found the time to visit little ol' me. 

Special thanks must be paid to Annalisa Crawford for actually taking the time to participate in my rather unsuccessful giveaway (I guess I better make it easier to enter next time!) and to Sandy for being my most avid commenter. I've been a fan of her work with Bridge and Beyond for years now and never tire of reading about the wonderful work she is doing for the homeless population in her city. 

Extra special thanks goes out to Randi Lee for showcasing me on her blog as part of her Sunday Series: Meet a Blogger! She even refers to me as The Queen of Kind! I think that deserves an "Aw shucks" as well. 

All in all I had an incredible time AtoZing this year! My goal was to start building a better following on my blog as I gear up to launch my kindness project in 2016. I am happy with the results and hope that many of the wonderful folks who stopped by my blog over the past month will continue to visit from time to time and, most importantly, will support B(e) Kind 366!