Friends like Nini

Almost 10 years ago I met an incredible woman named Nini, who has cerebral palsy.   I had signed up to volunteer with a program called Best Buddies, where you get paired up to be a buddy to an individual with special needs.  While I had joined Best Buddies as a way to give back, I learned so much more from Nini during the course of our friendship than I had ever anticipated. I learned that Nini was incredibly talented and skilled at activities like cross-stitching, swimming and even acting.  I learned that while she was often reliant on a wheelchair or a walker, that she was extremely independent and knew how to cruise around San Francisco completely on her own.  I learned that sometimes everyday tasks could be exhausting for Nini because of her physical and emotional limitations. I learned that Nini had a love for roller-coasters, for traveling and for adventures like skydiving.  I learned that she could be as goofy as the best of them, and while she had difficult days that she had a smile that could light up a room. Read more

Personalized Kindness Cootie Catcher for a Special Friend

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to play with Cootie Catchers- or Paper Fortune Tellers.   The element of surprise with each turn, not knowing what will be unveiled as your fortune, was always so fun and intriguing.  I’ve introduced this popular activity with my girls and they love it just as much as I did.  Recently I found this blog post that added a little twist to this activity by making the catcher about kindness.  With the Kindness Cootie Catcher, each fortune results in a simple act of kindness like ‘give a hug’ or ‘smile.’

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Hope and Courage for more Dannys

So often many of us, myself included, go through each day taking for granted some of the most simple pleasures in life.  I almost never stop to think about the fact that I get to have toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, soap and so much more; and that truly we are so lucky to get to have these luxuries.  In fact, World Bank projects that as of 2015, based on the poverty line of $1.90 per day, “global poverty may have reached 700 million, or 9.6 percent of the global population.” This statistic alone sets things into perspective.  I spend double the global poverty line in a single Starbucks visit.   What’s even more jarring is to realize that there are kids that live right by us, in neighboring towns, who have been severely abused and neglected.  These kids are worried about their safety, whether they have a home or a family to rely on- let alone the simple pleasures of life that we so often take for granted.  Read more

Family Donation Box

This may have been one of those Kindness Projects that my family will remember and use for quite some time.  I recently attended the parent-ed conference hosted by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and saw one of my favorite authors, Michelle Borba, speak. Her book Unselfie, which I have cited in past blog posts, provides nine strategies that provide kids with what she calls an “empathy advantage.”  Borba’s talk was incredibly inspirational and she shared anecdotes and stories of kindness from around the world- from kids shaving their heads to show support for their friend with cancer to a young girl standing up with moral courage to help a victim of bullying.  Borba also shared practical tips of how we can engage in compassion activities at home, which is also plentiful in her book.  During her talk, she provided several ideas on this topic and one of them was the idea of a Family Donation Box.  Read more

Nothing like a stomach bug to teach you about kindness

Last week our family got hit with the stomach bug, and we all went down like dominoes- first me, then my husband, then our older daughter and even my poor mother who was in town visiting.  Somehow my younger daughter and father were spared our misery, but it was not a fun week for the rest of us…or for our washer and dryer for that matter.   I especially had impeccable timing with my illness as I got sick on my husband’s birthday.  I had originally planned an entire itinerary to celebrate his special day.  The girls and I were going to make him breakfast.  We booked him a massage, and afterwards we were going to go on a family hike and picnic. And to top it all off, he and I were going to go on a dinner date together.   It all sounded like an awesome plan, until I got really sick and couldn’t get out of bed and we had to cancel everything. Read more

A Big Valentine’s Thank You to our Local Firefighters

Gratitude was the theme of this weekend’s Mindful Littles community service event.  Yesterday we got together with several families from our community to give a big Valentine’s Thank You gift to our local Moraga-Orinda Fire Department (MOFD) to thank them for their service.

During our event we heard from two local firefighters, got to tour a fire engine and learn about the different equipment they use.  In addition to explaining the types of calls they get and some fire safety tips, the firemen also explained to the kids how they deal with their own fears when fighting fires by relying on their training and camaraderie. Read more