I have arrived back in Northeast, Ohio where I will spend the next several weeks. Within 15 minutes of arriving here I was out on the Kindness bicycle connecting with students and their parents heading home from school. The messages on Kindness Bicycle are always the center of conversation. I took a much deserved break when I saw a Boston terrier who looked almost identical to Bogart. Of course I had to hold this wonderful girl named Lily. Don’t tell Bogart please!
Put an end to Bullying & Adolescent Suicide
In year 3 of this mission, I introduced a bicycle ride to my travels to raise
awareness about issues kids are having to deal with at far too young an age.
Bullying and Adolescent Suicide are two of these challenging burdens most kids
will unfairly have to overcome throughout the remainder of their lives. At rides
end we will have ridden enough miles to traveled the perimeter of the earth, twice.
It has been a long time coming, but the two Kindness Buses have finally met.
Professor Bryan Katz of Virginia Tech, has taken ownership of the original Kindness Bus. This bus will be used on the Virginia Tech campus, the Blacksburg, Virginia schools, events and all throughout this region where much healing is still needed.
I am so thrilled that this bus has come full circle.
I spent two days on the Virginia Tech campus connecting with faculty, administration and students. The ninth anniversary of the tragedy on this campus has just passed. Thirty-two lives were lost on that day. The center rear window of the Kindness Bus is dedicated to Virginia Tech. I thought a nice addition to that window would be for 32 individuals to paint a different color of paint over the words “end all forms of hatred.”
Everyone was so appreciative of our visit to their campus and honoring the 32 individuals with a separate coat of paint.
One of my favorite people to visit while I am in Charleston, South Carolina is Sister Sandra Makowski.
Once again she gave the Kindness Bus Tour the red carpet treatment. The Diocese of Charleston, where she is Chancellor, has built a new office compound all on one campus. She took the time to introduce me to all of the employees, Bogart was a huge hit. The new building has an incredible view over some of the low country of South Carolina.
Some of the most caring and kind individuals you will ever meet are from the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. This church which lost nine of its members last summer, began healing almost immediately, through forgiveness. This community turned away from hatred, embracing love and forgiveness.
Nine years ago today, thirty-two individuals’ lives were ended at Virginia Tech. I began One Million Acts of Kindness because of that event. Three days after the shooting in 2007, I drove from Cleveland, Ohio to Blacksburg, Virginia. I was there for four days and witnessed tens of thousands of individuals visit the memorial on the drill field on the VT campus: parents, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors and relatives with their hearts torn, a loved one taken from them and in many cases, many loved ones taken from them. My thought was how much hate and hurt would have to be in a person’s heart to do such an act. It was on my drive back home to Cleveland Ohio that I prayed for an answer. What could I do as an individual? The other end of the spectrum from all that hate and hurt is all that love and kindness. What came through me was having kindness as a life-long goal.
This small, one man and his dog on a bus and a bicycle traveling the country is having a profound effect on many individuals across the world.
It began as a 10 year dedication but honestly, there is no way I would ever stop. I will do this till my last breath with the hope in my heart that billions of people across the globe embrace kindness in their heart.
Coastal Pet Rescue of Savannah, Georgia, founder, Lisa Scarbrough gave me a tour of their wonderful facility today. This grassroots organization began with Lisa working out of her home to save neglected and abandoned pets. It is now a 24 hour a day facility with the help of dedicated volunteers who save hundreds of pets every year.
We loved the Pawsawhile section of facility.