One of the joys I get from Matt’s Kindness Ripples On is to read the nominations about inspirational people of all ages doing acts of kindness, large and small. It’s heartwarming and reminds me that most people in our world are really good people. We hear too much from the extreme voices in the news and social media, but they don’t represent us. Today I’m sharing with you a few nominations we’ve gotten of people who inspire us with their kind hearts.
May their kindness ripple forward and inspire all of you.
“Colby Phillips (Maryland) never stops giving. She collects food and clothes for families having hard luck, writes a daily uplifting blog to support and encourage positive outlook for women and others and always has a smile and a hug. Over Christmas she writes letters from Santa for hundreds of area children; you just need to give her their names to be added to the list. When last year, a member of Colby’s water aerobics class lost her battle with depression and took her own life, Colby immediately launched a support group for area residents battling depression.”
“I would like to nominate, Masha Balovlenkov (California) for an award. Masha, while visiting in Africa, was there to help empower women to do well. While there, in a chance encounter, met Benson, a young boy, severely underweight and in pain every day. A boy who was kicked out of school because he didn’t look normal. Coming back to the States, she fundraised money for him to have an operation, hoping it would lead to him standing tall. She didn’t have to do this, but out of the goodness of her heart, after surgery, got him into rehab, back into school and growing. Her goodness didn’t stop there, with her husband, they have helped other children with spinal deformity to stand tall.”
“Deb Kardon Brown (Pennsylvania), Aunt Deb as she is sometimes known, is truly an incredible woman. Mother of two powerful women and now a grandmother to another, she is not only a matriarch of the first order but a sharp, deeply empathetic and compassionate matriarch to all. For 20 years she worked with top tier higher learning institutions partnering with underserved communities, mentoring, guiding and empowering students to take on good works and passion projects to make the world a better place. I couldn’t tell you what her title was, but to the hundreds she helped in and out of her office, on paid and unpaid time, at all hours of the day and night and over the many years of development, her job became widely known as “debbing”. I would define this as honing confidence, love, passion, and success within and around an individual young person. She will strong-arm you into her room, listen attentively, dry tears and offer whatever tools she has at her disposal to make your world brighter and more hopeful. She’ll make you laugh too. I am eternally grateful to her, as are so many others, and the ripple effect of her kindness has certainly touched more people than I can imagine. She absolutely deserves this award.”
“Gabriella Frank (Illinois) is an extremely inspirational high school freshman. She started her own organization to promote charitable projects. During a visit to a low-income early childhood school in Jamaica when she was in second grade, Gabriella noticed that the children had to share basic school supplies such as pencils, and turn them into the teacher once they were done using them. She also noticed that the school did not have many books or basic school supplies. She took it upon herself to start collecting and delivering books and school supplies to low-income schools in the Caribbean. To date, she has collected and delivered 6500 books, and hundreds of pounds of school supplies. She has also inspired other people to start their own drives to help low-income schools. She also donated a $500 prize that she won for the creation of a computer lab in one of the low-income elementary schools in Jamaica. Gabriella believes that all children should have access to basic educational items.
On the local level, Gabriella is actively involved with raising funds and items for the local Humane Society and homeless shelters. She has created over 1000 toiletry bags for distribution to the homeless in the area. She collects items for the Humane Society on a quarterly basis. Following the hurricanes in the United States, She actively collected items for distribution to both Texas and Florida. She created over 500 toiletry bags for distribution to citizens affected by the hurricanes, in addition to delivering countless items for transportation and humanitarian trucks. Gabriella is an amazing individual who tries to help those in need on a daily basis.”
“Larry Finney (Maryland) is the Head Custodian at Ocean City Elementary School. He is a hard-working, dedicated professional, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Finney is a much-loved member of the OCES family. His kindness and compassion have touched students, families and staff members. Mr. Finney is the first to notice a need and then to quietly fill that need, from driving a colleague to doctor appointments every week, to washing students’ winter coats, to taking a young man for a haircut on a Saturday. Mr. Finney builds special relationships with students. He notices children who need a little extra attention, greeting them as they come into school, sitting with them for a few minutes at lunch, or stopping by their classrooms to watch them present a special project. Recently the mother of one of our students told me that her child was going through a difficult time. They had recently lost a family member that her child was very close to and he was upset. She said that he came home from school talking about his “best friend Mr. Finney” who talked to him every day and helped him feel better. Mr. Finney never looks for thanks or acknowledgment. He simply lives his life in a way that spreads joy and comfort to others. He truly exemplifies kindness and love in everything he does.”
“Colin Kosmicki (New York) started collecting coats at the age of 5 in our community when he saw a lady pushing a stroller with a young toddler not wearing a coat in the cold weather. From that winter season on his life changed, he’s inspired others. He’s inspired me! Giving and helping others is so important both in our community and beyond. He started what today is known as “Warm Hearts Warm Bodies, By Colin.” He has drop boxes set up throughout our community and the biggest at the ice rink where he plays hockey. Teams from all over the state often come in with bags of donations with warm winter attire. He was recognized on The Today Show when he was 8 as one of 5 of The kindest kids. That was an amazing experience and inspired even more kids to start their own collections and donate to their local shelters. Our local news has been wonderful year after year sharing his story and reminding everyone that Colin is back collecting.”
These nominees are making our world better, one kindness at a time.
Wishing you peace, love, and kindness in the new year!
As always, I’d appreciate it if you would help me get the word out about the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250 (nominate someone who inspires you) and the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 (submit an act of kindness you would do with $250).