We recently completed our Annual Melee of Kindness (AMOK) and we are so thrilled to see all of the kindness you have put into your communities, both during that weekend and beyond. Because we love our supporters and get inspired by the things they do, we wanted to share with you some of what transpired that weekend.
By the Numbers
Random Acts staff participants: 21
Leading by Example
A number of our staffers and supporters led the weekend with a variety of kind acts all over the globe. This year’s AMOK event also coincided with DarkLight Con in Paris, and Communication Officer Bea Arbeiter saw an opportunity to help #getkind for nature! As is true in many areas of the world, the bee population in France is in need of increased space to grow and flowers to feed from. That is why Bea handed out packets of pollinator seeds to convention attendees along with simple planting instructions.
Meanwhile in Belleville, Ontario, our Regional Representative in Eastern Canada Ruby Curtis-Cowen organized a massive “Big Book Hunt” throughout her community. She spent AMOK weekend refilling local Little Free Libraries and hiding books in various locations around town. She even set up a free library for the local homeless population, complete with gift cards for coffee! (Did you know that you can’t get a library card without a home address?) The gift cards were for a local coffee shop so recipients could feel more comfortable coming into the coffee shop to read.
Canada got lots of love during AMOK this year, as Regional Representative in Western Canada Rowan Meredith took the opportunity to share something that inspired her as a teenager. When she was 14, Rowan’s mother encouraged her to join her school’s rugby team. She said she was intimidated by the sport at first. But through the kindness and support of her coach, Kevin, she persevered — and still plays rugby today! As AMOK also coincided with “Pay It Forward Day”, Rowan paid her coach’s kindness forward and led an introductory rugby session for 14-year-old girls in her community. With support from Random Acts, she also provided the girls with mouthguards for safety. Play on, girls!
Inspired by Others
Inspired by the Bad Idea Tour from last November, Graphic Designer Iliana Habib joined a group of fellow Supernatural fans to run the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. Together, the ten friends trained together, ran together, and ended up raising $4,300 for St. Jude! (And rumor has it, some of them are going to do it again in San Antonio!) But that was only half of the story. The day after the marathon, Iliana coordinated a massive group donation of 262 collected self-care items to The Family Center, a local Nashville organization that educates parents and helps end cycles of abuse within families. That’s two items donated for each mile everyone walked or ran during the half marathon!
Our Executive Director Rachel Miner met up with E4K Event Coordinator Emily Rose DeMarco and the Friends of Random Acts group in New York City for a fun rock painting party and fundraiser. Attendees painted rocks with beautiful artwork and words of kindness to help spread encouraging words through the community. They also gathered donations for the Social Work department of St. Luke’s at Mount Sinai Hospital. Together they donated dozens of books, toys, accessories for moms, and baby supplies. In addition, they compiled a wish list on Amazon where anyone can purchase requested items and have them delivered directly to Mount Sinai Hospital. At the time of this writing, the list was still active, so you can still help make an impact for moms and babies in NYC!
Many Random Acts staffers took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to take to their local parks armed with snacks and water for strangers and people in need. Regional Representative US South East Misty Cash led a team of student volunteers through a number of parks in their community. They helped strangers beat the early Florida heat with cool drinks, snacks and cookies. Regional Representative April Vian was away from her home community during AMOK, but didn’t hesitate to gather and distribute bagels and bottled water to people experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Not to leave out our furry friends, Staff Writer Lisa Cerezo donated cat food, toys, and comfort items to the Champaign County Humane Society in Champaign, Illinois. AMOK Event Coordinator Jean Hayes delivered homemade baked goods to the Allstate Home Office in Northbrook, Illinois where her husband works. Allstate had just finished a month-long corporate-wide kindness initiative called “Bring Out the Good”, and Jean thought they deserved some kindness given back to them! Co-Founder Misha Collins and his kids even got in on the kindness action, assembling and delivering a literal wheelbarrow filled with supplies to people experiencing homelessness in Bellingham, Washington.
It’s worth mentioning here that all of the staff acts above received at least partial financial support from Random Acts. Events like AMOK are opportunities to take some of the generous donations we receive and distribute them to individuals all across the world, to spread kindness and creativity hand-to-hand, person-to-person. If you are someone who has donated to Random Acts, we hope you enjoy seeing your financial gifts in action in the world. And if you have an idea for an act of kindness but could use some financial support, please let us know. We would love to help!
Conquering the World
AMOK is not just about our staff and what they do to spread kindness. Each of our events is a way that we can connect to our growing network of supporters in communities far and wide, to come together and build a wave of kindness in the world. The many ways in which our friends spread kindness never ceases to amaze us. Like the story we heard via Twitter, about a woman who wanted to give her husband a shout-out for an act of kindness. He purchased a convention pass for a friend (and her caregiver!) who couldn’t afford it due to health issues. She wrote that she wanted to pass the story along anonymously, but couldn’t help sharing how much it touched her heart to see him give selflessly in that way. Sometimes an act of kindness can be as simple as letting someone know that you see them and acknowledge and appreciate their kindness.
Many supporters get really hands-on during AMOK: like Claudia, who crocheted and donated 60 hats, donated books, planted seed bombs, and gave out welcome packages to international students in her community in Brazil — all in one weekend! Ashley literally donated the clothes off her back, along with 15” of her own hair, to Children with Hair Loss in Rockwood, Michigan. Amanda was clearly in sync with Iliana and the Nashville marathoners, as she and her sister walked to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis while handing out treats to strangers. And Jessica let us know that she found a number of kindness acts to do that required no funding at all, which is fantastic! After all, to simply be kind to one another costs nothing. Thanks for the reminder, Jessica!
All in all, this year’s AMOK was yet another amazing, inspiring collection of kind acts and togetherness. One of our favorite take-aways from the weekend was that many of you continue to incorporate kindness into your daily lives, which really is our ultimate goal. After all, how else are we going to conquer the world but together, one random act of kindness at a time. Thank you to everyone who participated in our Annual Melee of Kindness, and thank you for continuing the kindness today and every day.