actsofkindness

January 7

Act of kindness #7: I usually do not share stories like the one I’m about to share but I really hope that those who come across this could get something out of it. If you’re from Chicago you know about the polar vortex weather we’re having, schools have been closed and people are advised to stay inside. Today I went down to the city for an event and took advantage of the trip to walk around and visit the homeless.

Last year I came 2 times a month and handed out sandwiches. Thanks to this I was able to meet some very nice homeless people like Danny, James and Bryon that I now call my friends and visit them often.

I went to the target on S State St. & bought some socks and went out to find these guys. After 20 minutes I began getting cold and my head started hurting but I didn’t care. 

I came across many homeless people. I passed out socks to who ever wanted a pair or two. I have no idea how they are able to survive with such extreme weather.

After a while I was down to 2 pairs of socks left and my legs were hurting and my face burned. I stood in the corner of E Monroe St & S State St upset that I didn’t find any of my guys. But I figured that they must have found shelter. 

Just as I was about to head back to the loop & get on the green-line train a guy walking across the street from me caught my attention. He was walking fast limping and slouching and I saw him holding a cardboard sign. It was obvious he was homeless. 

Something inside me told me to follow him and I did. I followed him for 3 blocks trying to catch up with him & get a glimpse of his face. He entered a McDonald’s & at first I wasn’t sure if I should follow him inside.I felt like a creep stalking someone. 

So I stood outside the fancy Mcd’s for a minute before again something told me to go inside and look at his face. I was not going to leave Chicago without being sure it wasn’t one of my guys.

So I went inside & sure enough it was Bryon! Who I had not seen since early November of last year. I found him crying & I ran to him and yelled “OMG Bryon I found you!” I was so happy to see him. He was crying because he didn’t have gloves and his body was freezing. Bryon has lung cancer and thought he was going to die before thanksgiving last year but look at him his still breathing!  

I immediately offered to buy him food & coffee. He’d been sitting out all morning and only had .20 cents.

We sat in a booth and talked for 2 hours and when I offered to buy him another burger he said “no come on look at me I’m a little man.” lol.

We both shared some personal stories that brought us to tears. He shared with me about a time when he wanted to go to Sunday mass but was prohibited from entering the church for not having the “appropriate attire,”  this story broke my heart. He was not able to enter the house of god even though his invited.

We had a heated conversation about the low gas prices today, oil wars, pesticides, King Jon-un, college being expensive, heroin addicts, not enough shelter homes in Chicago & greedy white old men (congress). Bryon is hilarious! 

People stared at us & kept giving him dirty looks (we saw you idiots). Mcd’s workers kept walking by on purpose.(TF?)

Bryon said “when you’re out there people walk right by you & ignore you, they pretend like you don’t exist. Society gave us a bad name.” Has it ever crossed your mind that a homeless person would really like just a hug?

He thanked me for going out to look for him and said “no one has ever done that for me, you made my day.” We stared at each other for a long time smiling ♥

I gave him $3 and that was enough for him to get on the blue-line train & ride it back and forth for the night, he didn’t want to accept more money from me.

He cleaned out his backpack and gave me an extra tooth brush and some tooth paste he had & said “for when you go back to college.” lol. 

Next time I see him, we planned that I would drive him to his family in Belmont, IN who do not know his been homeless for the past 2 years. 

Go talk to some homeless people, You will learn a lesson from them that you will never learn from a professor in college!

Sandy Hook (Late)

A year ago today we loft several lives. Lives of young innocent children and their teachers who died trying to protect them. Sandy Hook Elementary is no longer around because of the horrifying actions which took place there. They have torn it down. The lives of everyone in Newtown Connecticut have moved on, but the whole county will mourn the loss of those lost a year ago. This post is too remember those lives lost. This is for:

  • Noah Polzner age 6
  • Charlette Bacon age 6
  • Jack Pinto age 6
  • Olivia Engel age 6
  • Dylan Hockley age 6
  • Catherine Hubbard age 6
  • Avielle Richman age 6
  • Anne Murphy age 52
  • Jessica Rekos age 6
  • Victoria Soto age 26
  • Lauren Rousseau age 30
  • James Marrioli age 6
  • Josephine Gay age 7
  • Rachel D’Avino age 29
  • Caroline Previdi age 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler age 6
  • Chase Kowalaski age 6
  • Ana Marquez-Greene age 6
  • Mary Sherlach age 56
  • Daniel Barden age 7
  • Dawn Lafferty Hochspung age 47
  • Grace McDonnel age 7
  • Emilie Parker age 6
  • Nancy Lanza
  • Madeleine Hsu age 6
  • Allison Wyatt age 6

These are the lives we lost a year ago. They will never be forgotten, they are engraved into our memories. A year ago the familes asked that everyone do a random act of kindness in the world so that way there would be more kind people out there and every day that’s what I do and I remember a victom, not the shooter. The shooter does not need his name around any longer. Please remember these children’s names along with the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary who helped save them.

ENTREPRENEURS | It’s usually the nuts who change the world

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A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting an amazingly talented entrepreneur, Daniel Lubetzky – the Founder & CEO of Kind Snacks.  He has written a book called Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately. He wrote the book to share humbling and hilarious lessons he learned from many failures and successes along the way to founding and growing KIND from start-up to today.

The book shares some ideas he has come to value in life and business like the AND philosophy (choosing AND where others would say OR) as well as the not-only-for-profit model of integrating a social mission into a business venture.

All proceeds from this book will go towards celebrating and furthering individuals’ acts of kindness and courage in their communities. For more information on the book and book proceeds, please visit http://www.kindsnacks.com/book.

Congratulations my friend,

When you see a man with prosthetic arms and legs with a sign for help, you instantly burst into tears and run out of your car to give him some money … To help just a bit. And he is so cheery in response, so kind and thankful. His courage in life is love and the way I can’t help but break down, feeling for this man … that’s love.
—  Anonymous
January 5

Act of kindness #5: Today my sister and I went to Northern Illinois Food Bank to volunteer at their food pantry. We met some wonderful people who were so eager in helping to feed the hungry. I had so much fun picking out fruits and vegetables while listening to some 60’s rock. Together with all the volunteers we helped pack a total of 9,325 pounds of produce providing 7,770 meals to our hungry neighbors! If you live out here, why not volunteer? Invite your friends! To volunteer or donate you can visit there website here

For the past few weeks, I’ve been participating in the passing out of food and water to homeless people in downtown San Jose on Tuesday nights . Before, I never really thought much about homeless people, other than the fact that I knew they were homeless and I felt bad for them. I wished I could help but I never really could other than giving whatever spare change I had. Now, I’m physically interacting with them: personally handing out food, talking to them, listening to what they have to say. Honestly, I don’t know why I never talked to homeless people before. Most people would probably say it’s dangerous (which in some cases, it is), but I have a good use of judgement and I never go anywhere alone when handing out food. But people today just act like homeless people are part of the background, they usually don’t acknowledge them and sometimes people are actually scared to even look at them; I know I used to be. The thing is, why? Why are we afraid to look at them or talk to them? What people don’t realize is: that could be you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest person in the world today because tomorrow is a new day and everything could always change in the blink of an eye. If people viewed homeless people as just “people” instead of “homeless”, if we stopped judging just by their appearance, maybe more people would be willing to help them.

Tonight as I was coming back from the gym, I saw the same old lady who walks around my campus with her cart of food and other items. I’ve always wanted to talk to her and ask her about her life or where she goes and what she does. So finally, I did. We had a great conversation that lasted probably 20 minutes. And guess what? That conservation was the best conversation I’ve had all day. It was meaningful and the woman even managed to make jokes and educate me a little about politics. My point is that I stopped and took the time to talk to this women who was homeless, but at the end of the day was just a person. I asked for her name and she said “Ruth” and I said I would pray for her. I told her my name as well and the amazing part is that she told me she’d pray for me too. 

I often wonder what my purpose is on this Earth and though I haven’t fully figured it out yet, I know it has something to do with helping others. I want to change the world and make it a better place and I think that starting with helping the people in my community is as good as any place to start. And even if I don’t change the world or thousands of lives, knowing I can change at least 1 is good enough for me.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”