A call for help this Christmas

Each year for the past four years we at Balanced Life Skills have had the honor to assist the foster children in Anne Arundel County.  We have done that by providing a space for gift wrapping and our students have shown up in force to wrap the gifts, completing the job in about an hour.  That is really impressive when you think that we wrapped about 3-400 gifts in one hour.

This year though things have changed.  The group that sponsored this project will not be doing so this year.  On hearing about this Balanced Life Skills has linked up with Indian Creek School to provide a Christmas for the 160 or so foster children in the county.  Indian Creek is going to provide all the toys for the younger children and Balanced Life Skills is working on providing some gift cards for the 13 – 20 year olds.

Along with that both group of students will meet at BLS studio to wrap the gifts and deliver them to DHS offices on December 8th and on December 12 we have arranged for a party for the foster children and families at the Boys and Girls Club right here in Annapolis.

Here is what we need help on though.  We need help with providing the Gift Cards.  It has been suggested that gift cards to movies, restaurants, and department / clothing stores would be the best for the teens.  If you would like to help us please call as soon as possible.  We have 110 teens to take of this year, and without your help they may go without a real Christmas.  You may either choose a name to provide for or just provide some gift cards and we will match them up to a child.

We would like to see if anyone could help approach stores to see if they would provide any of these.  Otherwise Key School is selling gift cards this year and we could help them out and the foster children too.  Thank you for considering doing this act of kindness for these children.

Charity: acting on our desire to help others

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it takes a natural disaster to move people to open their hearts to give to others.  We saw this great outpouring in the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans, the Tsunami that struck in Indonesia, a fire that strikes a neighbors home, a disease that hurts a child.  But when we take the time to be aware of the needs of others, even when there is not a tragedy involved, and give of our things, talents or time, we not only make the world a better place, but we also are helping ourselves.

Philanthropy is about making the  world a better place.  I have noticed that when I speak to children about this idea of giving to others without expecting anything in return that they are a bit quiet at first.  It is like they are absorbing it and trying to grasp the concept.  Then they many times want to act on it.  Just this week I have heard of our students setting up a lemonade stand to raise money for a cause.  Others have been talking about things that they could create – and give all the money to a cause. 

As parents the example we set in giving, using our talents and time to the advantage of others, will have a long term impact on our children.  What can you do to make a difference with an individual, in your community, or in the world?  Every good act – Every act of kindness is charity.

An Act of Kindness

It was late in the evening and there in one of the parking spaces was shattered glass.  I have no idea where it came from.  The glass nearly filled the entire space.  One of our students came in to the studio and asked if we had a broom and a way to clean it up.  Once they had the tools it took about 20 minutes or so to get it all cleaned up.

What a great service to others.  How kind was it, not to ignore the problem – but rather to roll up your sleeves and solve the problem.  I am sure there are many of you in our audience that do similar acts.  Why not help us to quantify what our community does and record your special Act of Kindness in our Journal here.  We may choose your story to tell others about your experience.

Giving to others

After coming back from vacation I had a week of being sick like I have not seen for a very long time. On one of the days at home, afraid to move a muscle, I laid with the television on. There was a show where someone fixed up a car for a young teacher who was still in school and just barely getting by, driving a car that was on its last leg. Tears welled up in my eyes.
Have you ever noticed that when we see someone doing something nice for someone who really needs it, how good it makes us feel. Ever seen Extreme Makeover? Ever been to Alabama? We sometimes get this overwhelming good feeling for both parties. In fact we feel great.
When we step up and demonstrate compassion for others, perform an act of kindness, the feeling we receive is even more overwhelming. It makes us feel so good to be a positive part of community. Our family, school, town, state, world community.

About CNN Heroes

Last night I watched a good portion of the CNN celebration of Heroes in the world today.  They were all ordinary individuals with a vision or idea of a way to help a single person or a group of individuals one at a time.  None of them believed they were heroes.  All of them were leaders.
There was one of them that really struck me with a comment she made in her acceptance speech after receiving an award.  She said, “It is quite a comment on the world when showing respect for or doing an act of kindness for someone is deemed heroic.”
I would agree with that.  For us to be leaders though there are skills and knowledge needed along with being able to look at situations and see what we can do to make a difference.  Our acts of leadership do not need to be so large that they affect every human on the earth.  In fact if we start with that goal in mind we are less likely to be affective. We can change the world of individuals and those around them.  When we are willing to help one person soon we find that we are affecting so many more.
In our own community we have heroes.  I will comment on some of them in the future.  But I believe that our children have that ability too if we develop it.  This is one of my goals for this year coming in 2009.  You may want to follow my Leadership Blog and look for some training sessions we will be doing this year coming up.  If you are interested in your child learning the skills and getting practice to be a leader, contact me at Balanced Life Skills and lets see how we can do this together.

Acts of Kindness

We reached our goal of 1000 Acts of Kindness and surpassed it.  At the end of the day on last Saturday we had accumulated from our students, parents and friends.

1825 Acts of Kindness

Now the question is, Can we do more?   I believe that as a community we could become known as one of the kndenst communities in the nation.  It does us and our kids so much good to think about the act of being kind.  I am going to leave our form up for you to fill in your act of kindness.
Just think if you did one act per week that would be 52 acts of kindness in a year.  What if your family of 4 each did the same?  In one year you would accumulate 208 acts of kindness.  If you got 4 of your friends families to do the same that would be 1040 Acts in one year.  If they each got 4 friends families to do the same we now have an additional 3328 acts and the numbers keep growing.
Would you do an act of kindness each week? each day?  Lets do this together and have an impact on our community!