They don’t always generate headlines, but kind acts happen every day in Orange County — and probably too many to count.
Of course, that won’t stop us from trying.
In 2016, OCDE launched its One Billion Acts of Kindness initiative to quantify kindness as part of a larger effort to promote civility, character and positive school climates.
Occasionally, we at the OCDE Newsroom like to share some of the stories we get as a reminder that everyday people are quietly making positive contributions. (Plus, the submissions are pretty fun and uplifting to read.)
So, as we get ready to dive into the month most associated with thankfulness, here’s a sampling of the good deeds you’ve submitted in October:
- One time that I had an experience with kindness happened when I was in Mexico with my family. The hotel that we were staying at had a small waterpark in it for the guests to use. I was hanging out there with my sister one day and we were going on all the big rides. I was waiting in line for a ride where you had to use double inner tubes to go down the slide. When I got to the top, I saw a kid standing there, crying, and I asked him what was wrong. He said that his brother went down without him and he needed someone to go with since he was too small to go by himself. I offered to go down with him, and he smiled a huge, happy smile, tears forgotten. When we got to the bottom, the boy’s dad gave me a cool bracelet as a thank you and whenever I saw the family after that, the boy gave me a high five. This made me feel really good that such a small act made someone so happy.
- Once in 8th grade I had a friend who was in my advanced math class and I noticed that she was struggling with a lot of the material. She would study really hard, but then her scores would be kind of low. I could tell that she felt bad, but she would joke about her being bad at math with a few of my friends who sat near her. After class I offered to explain some of the material from each lesson we learned and so for a few weeks during recess I would sit down with her to explain the material. She ended up passing the class with a pretty good grade.
- In elementary school, I always tried to talk to the new kids at my school. In second grade I sat next to a girl that came from Korea. I showed her around the school and we became good friends. In middle school, she was the captain of our volleyball team and has made a huge impact on our school. In fourth grade, I invited a new kid to my birthday party. His mom was really happy and it gave him the motivation to make new friends. I can say that he is one of the most popular kids at school and I am sure that he has done his fair share of kind deeds. I am happy that I have helped people make new friends.
- There was a time when I was having lunch at Taco Bell. When I was sitting, I saw there was a man in the building. He looked very hungry and tired. He was asking people for money, and no one gave him a single penny. Being shy, I tried to avoid him, but then I kept on telling myself “you know what’s the right thing to do.” I went up to the man, gave him some money, and told him to get something to eat. He said thank you to me, and I walked away. Before I left Taco Bell, he said thank you to me one last time. I told him it was no problem. I was just glad I could help someone in need.
- Back when I was in elementary school, a new kid joined our class. This was different because most kids at our school join at kindergarten and leave after eighth grade. All of us were friends and knew each other well. Except for Andrew. He didn’t know anyone. He looked lonely to me, so I decided to introduce myself to him. Once we had gotten to know each other a little, I introduced him to the rest of my friends. We have all been great friends ever since.
- The other day I was walking in a parking lot and an older lady was carrying her groceries out of the grocery store. Someone bumped into her when she was walking through the parking lot. The man who knocked her down didn’t even stop to help her. I ran over there from my car and helped her pick her groceries up as well as walked her to her car. She was so thankful and she said it made her day even though it honestly made my day because I was able to help someone.
- When I was in elementary school, there was a kid in my grade that no one liked. He was “different” to all the other kids, but not to me. I was new to that school and earlier in the year I was considered weird too for being friends with both boys and girls. After a while, they stopped making fun of me because I didn’t react to their taunts. So, I made it a goal to make friends with the kid. It turns out he was super nice and smart. I stood up for him and we quickly became friends. What surprised me was that he changed how he used to act. At first, he was usually goofing off, but once me and him became friends, he started to pay attention in class and made even more friends. I am so happy that I was able to help someone change for the better and make a new best friend. Later on, he stood up for me when I was bullied. I’m glad that no matter what, I am able to make friends with anyone.
- A few years ago, my family had just moved into a condominium complex in a new city. We didn’t know anybody in the new neighborhood, but since we are kind of shy, we kept to ourselves. One day, a neighbor was getting in her car as we were also leaving the house. She struck up conversation and by the time we pulled out of the complex, we had made a new friend. We stayed friends with her and chatted now and then over the years, but she got older and had some health problems, so she moved to an assisted living facility. After a few months of not seeing her, we took a visit to the assisted living facility and brought her a card and some flowers. She was very happy to see us and introduced her to her new friends that also lived there. It was a fun experience and it felt like we were paying her back for when she befriended us when we first moved to the neighborhood.
- A while ago, while it was a rainy week, I was accidentally given two umbrellas. I saw a person who didn’t have an umbrella and was completely wet. I let them borrow one of them and they were really grateful. I let them borrow the umbrella until the raining ended. They returned my umbrella and said thank you very much.
- One year during the holiday season, my family and I volunteered at a nonprofit organization for kids and their families called “Para Los Niños.” Every year they host a family festivity for over a 1,000 children and families. These families live on “Skid Row” and this organization brings this community together by making the holiday season special for them. I had the privilege of being a part of greeting them as they walked in and serving them food. I also handed out gifts to the children and their families. This act of kindness brought joy to a community and to me.
- My best friend and I love getting Jamba Juice and one day when we went she had forgotten her money so I bought it for her.
- When I was elementary school me and my friend used to always eat lunch together. One day when we were walking around, we see a girl from our class eating all alone, so we went and sat right next to her that day and talked to her. The next day during class she came up to us and thanked us for our act of kindness. When she had said that that day she had made us feel so good to know that we made her day a little better by doing something as simple as sitting next to and talking to somebody who looked alone and like they were having a bad day.
Don’t forget to log your kind acts on the kindness1billion.org website, or download our free app for iOS and Android devices. For more on kindness, check out these stories we’ve shared on the OCDE Newsroom, including the “Exploring Kindness” episode of The Deeper Learning Podcast, hosted by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares.