Some acts of kindness take a few minutes to complete. Others take place over the course of days, weeks, months, or years. And, sometimes, there are a few bumps in the road along the way. At Random Acts, we celebrate the impact that each of these acts of kindness has on people’s lives. We are excited to share with you a particularly heartwarming act of kindness that Misty Cash, one of our South East United States Regional Representatives, carried out during the first few months of 2021. Misty’s presentation of inclusive skin tone crayons embraced our first two #GetKind themes of 2021: Celebrating Diversity and Education.
Considering the Community
Misty immediately got to work when we announced our2021 #GetKind themes. January and February were dedicated to Celebrating Diversity, so Misty started thinking of ways that she could incorporate that theme into an act of kindness in her community. She has put effort into building a relationship with local school districts and has performed acts of kindness with them before, so they were an obvious choice.
Through her work with local school districts, Misty became familiar with two title I schools in her area. In the United States, title I schools are schools in which at least 40 percent of students are from low-income families. These schools often have a higher percentage of students who are part of a minority group, are food insecure, experience homelessness, or belong to other at-risk groups. Misty thought these students could greatly benefit from an act of kindness that celebrated diversity and representation.
Colors of the World
Crayola released a new collection of crayons, called Colors of the World, in the summer of 2020. This collection was updated to better reflect skin tones from around the world so that children could see their own skin color represented in the crayons they use. Misty thought that presenting these crayons to students at title I schools would be a great way for students to both see themselves represented and help them develop more confidence and creativity. Her hope was that these crayons would allow all students to create pictures that looked like them. In her own words: “My hope is that it helps them feel included and represented in their school and their community. I hope it encourages other people to look at their community and see how they can help make sure all people are included.”
Once her plan was in place, Misty used Random Acts funding to collect crayons to distribute. The crayons were difficult to track down due to production issues caused by COVID-19. Misty ended up finding some crayons online and some in store. By the time she had visited every store with the crayons in town (a total of eight stores!), she had purchased 310 boxes of crayons.
The crayons were distributed to schools in Leon County and Gadsden County, both located in Florida. Misty felt strongly about donating the crayons to title I schools, because she knew they would be able to better allocate them to specific classrooms that would most benefit from them. Gadsden County, for example, is an entirely title I school district. The minority population is around 99 percent, and all students receive reduced-price or free lunches.
Making an Impact
Misty presented half of the crayons (155 boxes) to the Gadsden County School District’s superintendent. The other half she presented to the Leon County School Board during one of their meetings. Misty spoke about Random Acts, our #GetKind themes, and the impact she hopes the crayons will make. Board members were brought to tears as they explained how meaningful this act of kindness was and will continue to be.
“The children of my generation never saw their color in the crayon box,” explained Vice Chair Darryl Jones, “You had to use all types of different means and methods of shading to quite get your color … [The crayons] will mean a whole lot to spur the artistry and creativity of our children … It says what we feel about one another and the beauty of our diversity. I just might color tonight.”
Georgia “Joy” Bowen, chair of the board, eloquently highlighted Random Acts’ core belief about kindness: “This is so important, and so needed … Don’t stop doing this. These small things say that you think that people who don’t look like you are important.”
We encourage you to watch the video of Misty’s school board presentation here. It serves as a lovely reminder of why every act of kindness matters. You may need tissues if you are a happy crier like a few of our staff members are, though!
We could not be prouder or more thankful for all of Misty’s hard work to celebrate diversity in her community. Do not worry, Chair Bowen, we do not plan on stopping! We may even join Vice Chair Jones in coloring today too.
You can help us continue to sponsor acts of kindness like this by donating, if you are able to. Or, you can keep the kindness ripple effect going by performing your own act of kindness with us. Our Regional Representatives are always happy to help you out along the way, through brainstorming, planning, or finding kindness opportunities in your area.