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I did it! 100 Days of Kindness, Day 100

Day 100!

Today I did a few little things, and a bigger thing. The little things were some of my favorite ‘kindnesses’ throughout this project: I texted each member of my family this morning to wish them a great day ahead, I made small talk with the older man who lives downstairs on my way out to the car, smiled at the people in line at Dunkin Donuts, refilled the cream and sugar containers by the coffee machine at work, was there for a friend having a tough start to the day,  dog sat for Lady this evening and called my grandpa for a nice little chat.

My bigger thing was a large donation of clothes. I’ve been meaning to do this for 100 days. I went through my stuff and realized I have a lot of things that are in great shape that I hardly ever wear – some pieces I have never worn at all – and they’ve been just sitting there. So I packed it all up and passed it along to my sister Meg, who is passing it along to one of the wonderful mothers at her school in Lawrence. I hope she likes some of the stuff in there!

I also did something else today. I received an email that really shook me this morning – April (the director of the volunteer program that I did in Chicago) sent out a note to the volunteer program alumni asking to keep Jenny, a young woman currently volunteering for the program in South Africa, in our prayers because she had to go into emergency surgery around 9:30 a.m. this morning. Even through I’m not personally friends with this girl, it still made me feel terrible. This young woman has been working hard to do something good this year, and then a dangerous blood clot happens. She’s putting her kindness out there in a large, powerful way, but now is dealing with pain. Why does this happen?

April asked for one thing in her email – prayers and a moment of silence at 9:30 (while the surgery was set to begin) – so I put my boots back on, threw on my coat, and headed to the Catholic Church right across the street from my office. I knew I couldn’t say a few prayers with email after email popping up, calls coming in and people coming over asking me questions. It was quiet in church and I it was nice to have a couple of minutes to dedicate a few prayers to Jenny.

I don’t know too much about the situation, but I do know Jenny still needs prayers. If you have time tonight or tomorrow, I ask you to please keep her and her family in your thoughts.

So, since its day 100 of 100 Days of Kindness, I must say – I’m proud that I’ve finished what I started. My goal was to incorporate acts of kindness – no matter how big or small – into my everyday life. I wanted to be more aware of how I could put positive energy and feelings into the world. I also wanted to – plain and simple – do nice things for people; to be more generous. I realize I have a great life, with lots of nice things, I wanted to share that with others. I want to continue to share that with others.

What did I learn? I learned that keeping kindness in mind every day can make you feel good about yourself and in turn, make you happier. It pushes those negative thoughts out. I strongly believe that since starting this project luck has been in my favor. Maybe in passing along kindness, positive karma was then passed on to me?

Could be true, or could all be in my head. Either way, I loved these 100 days. I loved being creative in coming up with new things to do and I loved hearing about your stories as well – packaging up all your leftovers and finding a homeless person in Boston to give them to, hearing about the patients you tended to that day, about giving your grandfather a ride to the doctor, writing down random positive notes and slipping them under the doors of the rooms in your dorm, surprising your brother and visiting him for the day in a period of time when he probably really needed that, and so many more wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing them and thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my posts throughout my 100 Days of Kindness – the encouragement and support I received is much appreciated!

Now, onto the 100 Days of Meanness….

 

 

……..Just kidding!

 

With that, I’ll leave you with this (a quote from one of my most favorite people in the world, a woman I strive to be like):

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”

– Audrey Hepburn

 

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“I love you Miss. Colleen!”

If you’d ask me what I’m most proud of in my life thus far, I’d have to say my volunteer year in Chicago (as a part of the Augustinian Volunteer Program which my older sister Megan also did.) My one year anniversary since finishing the program just passed and lately I find myself thinking about my time there. I can’t believe it’s been a year!

While in Chicago, I volunteered at St. Margaret of Scotland grammar school on the south side of town. I was in the Pre-K with 3, 4 and 5 year old’s. I worked closely with a woman named Ms. Gunn, who is absolutely amazing with children and who taught me so much. She is one of the most hard-working women I’ve ever met. I admire her very much and thoughts of her will always bring a smile to my face. :)

Our Pre-K classroom truly  emitted rays of love and affection from all four corners; laughter and chattering of small voices constantly filled the space. Seventeen young children came every day to stimulate their minds and to practice friendship with one another in a comfortable, safe environment. The children in my class were the most fun ever. I loved every single one of those little guys.

Each hug, and ‘I love you Miss. Colleen,’ each and every craft and discovery made together showed me the potential these children hold. Each parent who made the effort to get to know me during my time at St. Margaret’s’ showed progress. Being the minority in school yet feeling as though people saw who I was, not just the color of my skin showed me acceptance.

I lived with three amazing people in Chicago (one worked at school with me and the two others worked at a nearby High School.) We didn’t always get along perfectly, but we were like a family. We worked well together, and I learned so much from them. Like Ms. Gunn, thoughts of my roommates still bring a smile to my face.

This year was tough – I was away from my family, friends and Colin. We all just graduated from college and all my friends were moving into Boston together, getting jobs. I was out in Chicago living with people I was assigned to live with, at a job I was assigned to, making $25 a week. I doubted why I was there many times. Why was I doing this? Because I knew I was supposed to and I knew I needed to. Why didn’t I give up and leave when it was tough (even if I really wanted to)? Because I made a commitment to my volunteer program, my roommates and most of all my students. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t; this is why I’m proud of myself.

At the end of the school year I received the most awesome gift; one of my students mother’s wrote me a letter. Part of the letter read:

“In just a few months with you, Ms. Colleen I saw a change in Milan’s attitude toward learning… This one year has changed my household. I take more joy in my children. It’s sad and great to say- it’s because my daughter met a teacher who inspired her and she came home to inspire us. She’s five- more confident, much more verbal and a heck of a lot wiser. Thank you for coming here for a spell.”

Volunteer work is not an easy task; but it is a gift unlike any other. I learned more than I ever could have in college; gained more life experience than I ever imagined could fit into a year. This note was the reassurance I was waiting for since the day my application was sent to the volunteer program.

Some photos from my year!:

Chicago!

The "Bean"

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