News around the world has been particularly disturbing and stressful so now’s a good time to hear about people who make our world better with their kindness. 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. I wish we could give all of them Matt’s Kindness Awards, they so deserve it.
Pravneet and Hurshneet Chadha (Glendale, AZ) are two teenage brothers who have taken on the mission of spreading smiles to all. They started a youth-led project called Project Smile AZ during the CVOID-19 pandemic lockdown. What started as sharing handmade motivational messages to patients fighting COVID alone in hospitals then branched off to sharing motivational inspiring messages to anyone in need, including the homeless, cancer patients, special needs kids, and veterans.
They soon realized that there were young kids who wanted to join their project but did not have the resources. Collecting donated art supplies and cardstock, they used them to make Smile Art Kits for children at the Crisis Center of Arizona as well as for children with disabilities. This allowed these kids to be entertained and creative, while also feeling proud because the cards they made were being donated to patients in hospitals. The Smile Art Kits are bringing smiles to those who get them and the cards made with the kits are bringing smiles to many more. It’s a win-win. So far, they’ve given thousands of cards and hundreds of Smile Kits.
That was just the beginning. After a year of online schooling, they realized the effect it was having on the education of youth and so they started a literacy drive, collecting gently used books with the theme of #ReduceReuseRecycle and have so far shared close to 1,500 books with kids in need. In addition to the books, they’ve done drives for food, blankets, and items for dental hygiene kits.
“Our goal is to bring a smile to everyone from A to Z. We want everyone to have an amazing day. We want to help and touch as many lives as possible. That’s our thing.”
Nicole Kohr (New Bern, NC) is a cystic fibrosis patient and double lung transplant survivor. “She’s the strongest, kindest, and funniest person in the world. She always has a smile on her face, despite being hospitalized for 70% of her life, and everyone who comes into her path knows she shines a beautiful light on this world.”
Nicole is an amazing and proud advocate for the Cystic Fibrosis and Donate Life (organ donor) communities. She advocates and blogs for over 50 foundations that aim to cure CF and bring awareness to transplants. She said, “I believe storytelling is the most important part of patient advocacy, so I am on a mission to write and produce stories that bring visibility to the CF community.”
She did that by producing an original musical comedy, loosely based on her life, called “Fall Risk, The Musical”, which is in pre-production. It has already brought tons of money and awareness to the CF foundation. Fall Risk uses humor while taking a look at living with chronic illness.
In addition to the musical, Nicole founded the non-profit, Colie Creations, an LLC that allows her to self-publish books about handi-capable children. Her books focus on inclusion, acceptance, and bringing visibility to the chronic illness community.
Nicole has published three books so far. Water Your Human, a story that is a reminder to practice empathy while caring for others. My Pants, a story about inclusivity, advocating for yourself and others and teaching neurodivergent children coping mechanisms, (Neurodivergence is the term for when someone’s brain processes, learns, and/or behaves differently from what is considered “typical”). And Two Cents, a tale to promote children’s self-worth and faith in their own abilities, even when others put their two cents in to discourage them.
Nicole’s non-profit donates a percentage of all book sales to the CF Foundation. Nicole said she is positive her creations will help CF stand for “cure found.”
Nicole is a force to be reckoned with and a truly inspirational human being.
Angie Blevins (Wilmington, DE) is the kind of person who is always looking for ways she can help others. She has been through hard times herself which has given her a well of compassion for people who are suffering.
During COVID she said, “I wanted to definitely make a huge difference for the front-line workers, and let them know that they’re not forgotten–that people care. I just really want to make a difference, make an impact.”
She had her life saved by some incredible doctors and nurses and felt the need to give back to them. One day she delivered around 400 “Thank you. You are awesome!” cards to the Christiana Hospital workers, making their day. Another time, she made snack baskets and delivered them for the doctors and nurses who were working long hard shifts. She also collected masks and gloves and donated them to the hospital when those supplies were hard to come by.
She’s an advocate for mental health, speaking out and sharing her story, and being a compassionate and understanding listener to people who need to talk without fear of being stigmatized.
She owns a laundry cleaning company called, Laundry Love, which offers free laundry services to low/no income families and non-profits with a motto, “We brighten the lives of thousands of people through love, dignity, and detergent”.
On her birthday, she collected items she thought would bring smiles to chemo patients at her local hospital and donated her “love bags” to brighten up their day.
At Christmas, she delivered gifts for families at her local homeless shelter and said, “I want the families to feel like they are not forgotten and that they are loved!”
Angie has paid for all of this out of her own pocket, asking for nothing in return, dedicating her time and resources to helping her community. “Angie is a wonderful human being with a heart of gold.” She goes about her life, every day, spreading kindness.
Maya & Arjun Govindaraj (Sugarland, TX) are 13-year-old Asian American twins, born to immigrant parents. They heard their parents talk about an abused child so they were curious to learn about child abuse, the CPS (Child Protective Services) system, foster care, and underprivileged children. They got their friends involved and started a club called “mission BE A Resource” (BEAR) with the primary goal of supporting children in need through donations and volunteering.
They’ve volunteered from charity events to food banks, toy and book drives, to making care packages for kids and for cancer patients. They stock up on items like school supplies, clothes, and food and then donate those items to Rainbow Rooms – where CPS workers can go and get supplies for abused and neglected children.
They said, “We know kids in countries like India live in poverty. We were surprised how many kids in a rich country like America go to bed hungry each night! We were also surprised that 150 abused and neglected children come to Child Advocates of Fort Bend every month for treatment so they can tell their stories and get better. We are so lucky to have loving parents and a good family.”
They are hoping that their actions will help to make their neighbors, community, and city leaders aware of the suffering by making and giving snack bags for kids in need and posting statements on social media so they can try to find a way to end childhood hunger and suffering.
“If we as tweens can make a small difference so can the rich and powerful! We hope we can create a ripple that will lead to a big wave that can bring about change to help children from low-income families live a better life in the future.”
I love when teachers write in and talk about how they promote kindness in their students and the lifelong effect it has. Here is one of those stories.
Nancy Everroad (Millcreek, WA) said, “My school is doing monthly week-long work on mental health activities as well as kindness with our elementary students. Now, more than ever, we feel it is crucial. I am an elementary school teacher and have been teaching kindness in my second-grade classroom for over 10 years now. I believe in starting young so it does become contagious, just a part of who we are as humans. Each year I buy my students kindness shirts and we wear them every Friday and do a kindness mission either for one another, our friends and family, or the community.
We have gone to nursing homes and sang songs and played math games; we have donated food and needed supplies for our local unsheltered communities, written letters to the veterans, made a video for children in children’s hospitals, written kind notes for our family and friends. AND SO MUCH MORE!!
My goal has grown and I am trying to make kindness an everyday work and act in the schools, starting with Mukilteo School District. (my district) and then the goal being all WA schools and continuing from there. This year we are trying to raise funds for ALL students in my school and my partner school (Title 1- Federally funded due to low income) to have their own KINDNESS shirt to wear each Friday to carry out kind deeds. My goal is big… to have all schools promote kindness, but the need is bigger! I have seen first-hand how my students have been touched and changed by learning about and then implementing kindness in their own lives. We put on our kindness masks and capes (literally) and go around the school leaving notes and goodies for staff and friends. Last year I zoomed with many of my former students and they were wearing their kindness shirts. It works! It is my passion and I will continue to battle for kindness every day!”
I hope you enjoyed this reminder of how much good there is in the world. Ordinary people making our world better, one kindness at a time.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.