Back in May I blogged about Kindness Weekend in the Mount Washington Valley. You can scroll down below on the right and find the post if you're interested. But today I want to share a bit of history leading up to Kindness Weekend, pick up where that weekend left off, and give you a glimpse of what's next!
I met Mikayla in 7th grade health class when she was 13. I was teaching a unit on growth and development ... and she was being a feisty teenager.
I liked her instantly. I felt like I had known her forever. Funny how that happens with some people. A few years later, she participated in the Teen Clinic Peer Education Training Program. Eventually, I hired her to work with me in the Teen Clinic and Community Outreach Program I ran. That's how we got connected and came to participate in Kindness Weekend together.
But there is a whole lot more to Mikayla's story. I got to witness it as she was going through something no teen should ever have to experience. But I also got to witness a transformation that goes beyond my ability to put it in words.
So I'll let Mikayla tell you about it herself. Here is Mikalya's story of how she got to where she is today ...and how she'll get where she's going next ...
Overcoming Adversity: Mikayla's Story
To read more about the big blue bus and Mikalya's kindness project visit www.kindnessmiles.com
Special thanks to Positivty Nation for granting permission to share A Year of Positive Action with you on this blog! Visit them at www.positivitynation.com
A Week of Positive Action: Give someone a hug!
Don't underestimate the power of human touch. Whether it is your kids, your parents, a sibling, a friend, or just someone who really seems a little “blue” or is going through a tough time, this small gesture could really turn someone’s day around...and it doesn't cost a thing! Give it a try!
We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
This past Memorial Day Weekend was the 1st Annual Kindness Weekend in the Mount Washington Valley where I live. The Teen Clinic Peer Educators were joined by Michael Chase, author of Am I Being Kind?, and they hit the streets to give out free hugs. At the end of a day of random acts of kindness, including free hugs, we all came back to share our stories in a Kindness Rally. Check out this story about the power of a hug.
A group of teens I am connected with shared the story of their Free Hug station set up on the corner of Main Street. The donned their iHug pins and held up their signs and offered free hugs to passersby. They met with some resistance at first. They reported back that only about 1/3 of the people they met accepted their free hug offer. One person yelled, "why the hell would I want a free hug!" They persisted. About 2 hours into the morning, three girls came running back to tell me this story.
They were walking down the street holding up their signs, Mikayla leading the way. From about 50 feet away, a woman saw the sign and headed toward her with outstretched arms. Mikayla put her arms out as they walked toward each other and met in a huge hug. The woman held on tight and Mikayla felt her crying. When they pulled away the woman shared that seeing that sign was not at all what she expected on Main Sreet that day ...but it was exactly what she needed. The day before she had lost her best friend to a terminal illness and she was feeling quite alone. She thanked the girls for their Free Hug brigade and then all four of them embraced in a group hug. Seritonin levels flying high and four lives touched forever.
Needless to say, as their energy rose, the free hug campaign got stronger. Their success rates rose and they became more confident that hugs could really make a difference to strangers. They focused their Kindness Campaign to not just strangers on the street. They targeted the "bank ladies" and a whole host of people that serve them during their day to day lives. They delivered hugs and smiles and thank yous to the banks, retail clerks, wait staff, and service workers all along Main Street. Then they got in their cars and headed to the Mall to deliver some more hugs and random acts of kindness.
I hear from a good source that a year long cross-country Kindness Tour is being planned. And it all started with a simple hug with a stranger. Stay tuned for the launch of www.kindnessmiles.com ... coming soon to a community near you!
Transition on Purpose