What the season is really about

July 8, 2016By Acts of Kindness, Behind the Shelf Blog, Random Acts of Kindness blog series

by Julie Massey, visual assets manager, for our Random Acts of Kindness blog series

After the email came out about the Random Acts of Kindness challenge HRG would fund for employees, I racked my brain for about a week trying to figure out what to do. How could I distribute the $30 plus some extra of my own to make the most impact?

I was participating in a group exercise class at my YMCA, when one of the childcare helpers came in and grabbed the hula hoops off the wall and a lightbulb went off in my head. I stopped at the front desk on my way out and asked who I could talk to about contributing to a member – perhaps a single mom that needed help with monthly dues or childcare costs – whatever might help someone in need.ymca-logo-social

I was put in touch with their donor development director and I dropped off the money after a class one evening. Soon after I received an email to let me know the early childcare director knew of someone that could use the assistance, it was a single mom of a young child who was very grateful for this random act of kindness. The money was used to buy boots and some small gifts for the child. It was then that I also learned there were four other siblings in the family.

I mentioned what I had done with the ROAK money I had received to Dawn, our president, and Beth, our human resource manager, and they immediately asked, “What else can we do for this family?”

I got back in touch with the Y and soon had a list from the family of what the children wanted for Christmas. I then sent an email to all HRG associates to share this family’s story and asked if they would be interested in providing additional funding. We put a collection container at the front desk for anyone that wanted to contribute to making the family’s Christmas even brighter. Our incredible team donated over $250! We split the list and went shopping to purchase items on the list, including some requested food so they would have a nice holiday dinner, and included a little something for mom as well.

The RAOK challenge brought forward what the holiday season is really about – the spirit of giving. A bonus to the experience was that I was asked to attend the Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and got to learn about more ways donations to the Y have helped local families.

When asked why I participated in the challenge, my initial response was that it was the right thing to do. It struck a chord with me, and I was happy to have the opportunity to help others in need. It forced me to go a little outside of my comfort zone, and I’m really glad I did. The entire experience was phenomenal, including learning about how the other associates’ distributed their random acts of kindness dollars. Their stories often brought tears to my eyes. We touched so many lives in those few weeks in both small and large ways. What a great exercise in kindness and giving back!

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