Archive for April, 2010

Mia, Community, Haddy, Lemonade and Love

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

4-25-10The sun shown brightly from the skies on Haddonfield today, bringing its residents out to play, shop, eat and garden. I arrived in town ahead of schedule and contacted Carlton and Rose Chin, the organizers of the Play it for Mia benefit, to let them know that I was going to spend the day exploring this beautiful town. Bogart was in dog heaven with all of the squirrels and dropped ice cream. Bogart was in a perfect paradise, until that is, he met Haddy, a sculpture of the first dinosaur unearthed in the world, right here in New Jersey. I assured Bogart that Haddy is in fact a harmless herbivore, he then gained back his alpha-dog mentality and got into a stare down with Haddy.
Haddonfield isn’t just a town, it is a community; a community of very friendly people; Its residents were very interested in learning all about The Kindness Bus Tour. I must have had thirty long conversations with people from the area. I got a sense after awhile, that this community is involved in many ways of reaching out to those in need. Visiting Haddonfield, needs to be on everyone’s bucket list.
I met so many wonderful people today, all were so helpful and gracious with their offers of invites to their homes for home-cooked meals. I met two wonderful sisters, from a nearby community, who just had to stop by the bus to get some pictures of Bogart and The Kindness Bus. They were so thrilled, I asked them to write on the bus. Amanda, a soon to be school teacher, wrote, “If you see someone without a smile today, give them yours” what a great attitude for a teacher to have. Melissa wrote of finding a cure for childhood cancer, she is a talented soul who works tirelessly for alexslemonade.org an unbelievable nonprofit which raises funds for research, travel and nursing for those in need with help because of childhood cancer. Meeting Melissa on the day of the Play it for Mia benefit has meaning which will become apparent over time. Please visit their website, to offer much needed help.
Today I had the undeniable pleasure of meeting Mayor Tish Columbi, she had a big hand in making the Play it for Mia benefit a reality. She also arranged in helping to make my stay as comfortable as possible. What a charismatic, involved individual she is, whom Haddonfield is fortunate to have as a leader. Her interest in One Million Acts Of Kindness made it seem as if she gave me a key to the city.
This evening’s benefit was flawless, which was a testament to the long hours of planning and practicing. Ms. Yonitte Ryger, an accomplished violinist, had the audience’s attention the instant bow met strings. Julia Chin, daughter of Carlton and Rose played her wonderful piece with great pride as her parents seemed to hold their collective breath until finished. Bravo Juila! ¬†Pianist, Isaac Park was a talent to say the least, his solo was what Chopin had in mind when he penned it. Yonitte’s father, Raphael, Concertmaster, Orchestra New England, spoke of the background before each piece and played Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins with his daughter with brilliant precision. With all the talent tonight, the house was “brought down” by Mia’s aunt Nancy Mulvenna as she spoke of the accomplishments and bravery of Mia and her family.
To all involved, it was an honor to speak to those attending, of One Million Acts Of Kindness, it was a night I will carry in my heart forever.

North to Haddonfield, NJ

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

My fast-track, six day, twelve hundred mile drive to Haddonfield NJ is nearly complete. The bus is not a fan of long distance travel. Two hundred miles per day is about all I can ask of this bus. I spent the day designing all of the backstage features to The House That Kindness Built puppet show. This was more complicated than I would have guessed. Creating the script was actually the easiest part. I don’t have the voices yet but will work on this over time. The benefit for Mia Strobel, a beautiful 7 year old who has been battling cancer half of her life, will be the dress rehearsal and world premier all rolled into one. This show was specifically created because of this benefit, it is the most important undertaking of The Kindness Bus Tour to date. Is it correct to tell oneself to “Break a leg?”

University of Mary Washington

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

4-22-10Any University which is named after the mother of the first President of the United States is worth a visit; this is that University. Located high on a hill in Fredricksburg, Virginia, this is a place with much history in our nation’s early years. We arrived today, as several other school buses were making their way onto campus just ahead of The Kindness Bus. The chief security officer asked if I was here for the concert, I was now, and let him know. We got to the auditorium and opened the door to find a young man and woman dressed as Darth Vader and Wonder Woman, Bogart freaked and I had to escort him outdoors. While walking this picturesque campus, we met Rachel who gave us recommendations as to where we should visit. She, as well as James Farmer had, has a passion for debating. It’s good to see students find a passion for what they love, at such a young age. During my short stay, I passed out over two hundred stickers to students and faculty. This is a campus I will return to on my travels down the coast, next fall.

Barton College, Wilson, NC

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

4-21-10A day of rain kept the Kindness Bus under the posted speed for this long day of travel. I arrived on this beautiful campus in the pouring down rain. Opening the door to the bus, Bogart gave me one of those, do I have to go, kind of looks. With Bogart in tow, we walked in the rain to a very crowded Student Union building. Ms. Hamm met us with a very big smile as we entered, she immediately agreed to help spread the word in any way possible. My visit to this college should have lasted much longer than   it did as everyone I interacted with loved the thought of this being a kinder world. I visited the administration building hoping to find another interested party, I was told that chaplain, Hollie Woodruff would be a sure bet. I arrived at the admissions office to find another very big dog lover at the front desk, after showing Bogart a few minutes of scratching behind the ears, I was told that Hollie was on her honeymoon this week. We left a big stack of stickers for the staff, and left with a cookie for Bogart. I think Bogart was glad he got off the bus.

Savanna College of Art and Design

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

4-20-10I tentatively planned a visit to this campus, SCAD as it is called, last August to visit my friend Helen’s son, David. I finally arrived today and met with this very big hearted young man. David is a talented graphics design major; he is going to work to make this website even more informational than currently exists. Thank you David!
Alfredo and Humberto who are from Portugal, documented their pleasure of seeing the bus by photographing Bogart and me from many angles in front of the bus. Humberto has a blog named manwithamovingcamera.blogspopt.com He is going to spread our message across Portugal. What great things can be accomplished with the internet. I also had the opportunity of meeting two very charming girls, Mallory and Pam. Both girls approached me about the same time. I was so impressed with their level of interest in One Million Acts Of Kindness that I asked both of them to write messages on the side of the bus. I was able to talk with over two hundred people during my brief stay. Bogart, during an explore of a nearby park in the city, was very interested in Can, a local musician. Can agreed to have Bogart sit with him while he played a couple of songs. Bogart rocks!!

University of North Florida

Monday, April 19th, 2010

4-19-10UNF is one large nature preserve on the outskirts of Jacksonville. With very little signage on the freeways, it is easy to pass by this serene setting. Once on campus, I decided to head for Parking Services to see about the best place to find a space near foot traffic. The University Police were thrilled with Bogart, one female officer saw the bus and directed me to an unbelievably life-like statue of Gandhi. Because of our need to get north quickly, we had only three hours on this campus today. We had great success talking with students near the Student Union and Bogart nearly had great success catching one of the hundreds of geese on campus. Kindness, Bogart. Kindness.

The Power of You

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

To Every Child in The United States

This is Your World..Change It

Stop Bullying Across the Nation

Start Today with Your Goal of Kindness

You Are the Change this World Needs!