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Random Acts of Kindness

August 16, 2013

As part of the “Ready For Work” program, the students at Anson Park Community were charged with thinking of random acts of kindness they could perform as part of the life skills portion of class.  They came up with some great ideas, but we were limited to our resources, so they wanted to explore more options using the internet at the public library.

The students worked on crafts for our random acts of kindness.  The teen girls took the initiative and went to Ashley Parker, Anson Park Community Coordinator, asking her for goody bags.  They were given small purses and began adding treats to the bags, along with a note that had a Bible verse or a compliment for the little one who receives it.  The teen boys aided in filling the bags and writing small notes as well.

The teens were first taken to the Mall of Abilene.  Here they blossomed from being shy when first handing out a bag into being very confident in their assignment.  The girls talked to store managers and asked to be live models in the store front windows, the boys were being kind to everyone, saying things like, “Have a nice day.” or asking if someone needed assistance with the door.  The teens seemed to really enjoy this assignment.  They wanted to find a place that had more children because they still had several purses to hand out.  We went to a park nearby the mall and did not find anyone there, but the students did take a break to enjoy looking at the prairie dogs.  After leaving the park, the teens thought that the nearest Wal-mart might give them more access to small girls who might want a purse.

The Wal-mart experience was a fun one to watch as a bystander.  The girls would approach a parent and introduce themselves.  They would tell about the New Life Alliance Ready for Work program and how they were commissioned to participate in random acts of kindness.  They were so excited because the little girls, who received purses, faces would light up when given a goody bag.  The teens would sit back and listen as they would look inside the bags to find even more treats.  One little girl was so excited when she read her note that read, “You are loved.”  The teen boys wanted to provide laughter to Wal-mart patrons so they would do silly things like push-ups in the middle of the isle or offer a hug to a stranger. This was a fun way to teach the teens the value of positive encouragement and also give them an opportunity to take the initiative and practice being confident.

Time was running out on us but the decision was made to get drinks and a snack before heading back to campus.  It was very exciting and heartwarming listening to them talk of their day.  They seemed very happy with getting out and away from the complex, but they truly got what their assignment was about, which was bringing a little bit of joy to someone’s day.  I can say they certainly did that, time after time. 

The day was a very successful day.  It was interesting in watching the girls become leaders.  They were younger and outnumbered, but they were focused and organized.  I am excited for them and appreciate their openness and willingness to serve others. 

-Submitted by Stephanie Carlton

*Support for programming at Anson Park is provided by the Community Foundation of Abilene*

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