Archive for February, 2012

Board of Education, State of Ohio

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The following is a letter that I sent to the 19 members of the Board of Education in The State of Ohio. Governor John Kasich received a copy as well.

It truly is time to teach a goal of kindness in our nation’s schools.

Re; Chardon shooting
One Million Acts Of Kindness is an organization I started because of the Virginia Tech tragedy nearly five years ago.
I am a father of three grown children from Gates Mills, Ohio. After that tragedy, I decided I was tired of seeing these types of events happen and not doing something about it. I now travel the country in a painted school bus trying to convince as many people as possible, primarily children, to personally perform one million acts of kindness in their lives. Having a lifetime goal of kindness in one’s life, creates an individual who only knows love and respects others and themselves. Having such a formidable goal, creates an ever-present mindset of kindness.
Kindness is a simple loving gesture and needs to be taught in our schools.
On the One Million Acts Of Kindness website are Kindness Certificates, which can be printed for each student and classroom. These certificates are a contract with oneself to pledge to perform One Million Acts Of Kindness in one’s life. They are then signed by the student and hung and framed in a prominent spot in the child’s bedroom. This can also be used in each classroom. There are over 14,000 of these being used, there need to be millions in the State of Ohio alone.
Please make this an immediate addition to classrooms across the State of Ohio. To not do so, would be a major disservice to the students of Ohio. Having kindness curriculum from pre-K through 12 would help to avert any future tragedies. Don’t, not do anything!
In the short 2 1/2 years I have been living on my bus, trying to help schoolchildren across the country, there have been dozens of high profile people who have supported my cause, a few of these are;
President Obama’s Domestic Violence advisor, Lynn Rosenthal had me to her DC office for a meeting.
Oprah put us on her OWN Network for a two week period and a three week period.
I am interviewed for the Bill Bennett, former Department of Education Secretary talk show, “Morning in America” for an update to my travels every¬†Friday morning.
Dr. Stuart Ablon, Harvard Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Head of Psychiatry Mass General and ThinkKids founder.
I urge you to do something about using these One Million Acts Of Kindness Certificates in classrooms. This tragedy is a horrible wake up call to you and all of us. It is time to implement this change. It would help millions of children across our wonderful state. Ohio could become a model for other states in its actions to a tragedy such as this.
Now is the time to implement this change. I’m sure you agree. The children of Ohio are counting on you.
Kindness always prevails!

Another School Shooting

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

2-28-12The school shooting in Chardon, Ohio was just 10 miles from my former home. This is another senseless tragedy we will watch as it is played out in newspapers and televisions across the nation. The images are frighteningly similar from one event to another. Time and time again we are witness to these events and wonder, why? and how? Why are so many of these shootings taking place? How can an individual take another’s life with such total disregard? To me, there is a simple answer to both of these questions, but it takes a long term commitment to that simple answer.
It is easy to be kind. Kindness is something you can adopt in your life as if it was second nature. This innate characteristic should should be as if it was part of the DNA of everyone. A lifetime goal of kindness is the commitment, a lifetime goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness.
To the families of the victims, the people of Chardon and anyone affected by this tragedy, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Wounded Inside

Monday, February 27th, 2012

2-27-12Putting one’s life on the line to protect the freedoms of our country is usually driven by pride and patriotism. Young men and women are doing just that in large numbers and deserve our heartfelt gratitude.
Often times the wounds of war are not visible but they are debilitating none the less. The cumulative events witnessed in war can have long term effects. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can be almost immediate at times and in other cases the suppressed memories surface years later. Both are equally devastating.
Many of these Veterans who are homeless are affected by PTSD and once they have started living on the streets, it’s a long road back to normalcy. Do your part to lend comfort, conversation and a hot meal when you have a chance to these once proud individuals. It’s the very least we can do to help those who have helped us and are now wounded inside.

Veterans’ Home of California

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

2-26-12“If you ever pass through Barstow, make sure you visit the Veterans Home,” Marianne Davis, the Volunteer Coordinator of the VA Los Angeles Medical Center said to me last week. As it turns out, I found myself driving right through Barstow. What a great call, this visit was needed by all parties involved. Charlie Ross, an Army Signal Corpman was enthused to see me walk through the front door of the Veterans Home. It was lunchtime for the 185 residents and Charlie invited me to the dining room as his guest, giving me the opportunity to talk to many of these Veteran Heroes. Angelina and Dorothy who were at the front desk and allowed The Kindness Bicycle into the building when they saw the smiling faces of those who gathered around me. It was a unique bike that carried the message of Heroes to them. It was a nice break from the daily routine for these Veterans.
I also met Ray today, who was with his daughter from Girl Scout Troop 784. He loved the idea of getting Girl Scouts, taking part nationwide in One Million Acts Of Kindness Week and having The Kindness Certificates as a reminder of a personal goal.

Mending Fences with Kindness

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

2-25-12Our neighbor to the north, Canada needs to remain our ally in every respect in this politically and religiously divided world, and besides all of this, they are great people.
On my travels to Nevada, I met a large group of Canadian college students. These 22 students from Lethbridge College, had been on a surfing break from their studies and were on their way back home to Alberta. They were blown away by The Kindness Bus and what it represents. Which brings me to the title of today’s blog, Mending Fences with Kindness. Kindness not only knows no boundaries, kindness can also rebuild relationships, personal relationships and relations between nations.
This group of students represented the hope for positive relations between all countries of the world. If the peoples of a country can get along with the peoples of other countries, the leaders of those countries have the obligation to do the same.

Major Work on the Kindness Bus

Friday, February 24th, 2012

2-24-12It has been a little more than a year ago since I met Scott and Paula in Vero Beach, Florida. After talking to them for a while Scott decided he wanted to fill the tank of The Kindness Bus with a little kindness. After doing so, he made a generous donation as well. When The Kindness Bus needed a major tune-up today and not realizing the extent and expense of the work, I gave Scott and Paula a call to see if they could help with the expenses. Without hesitation was their positive reaction to my dilemma. As Scott says, “Just keep up the good work you are doing.” This couple is a big boost to keeping this mission moving forward. Their website is www.precisionfitbath.com
Two more angels to the rescue were Rudy and Hector who are are a couple of very talented mechanics. They not only performed the major tune-up at a discounted rate but then gave The Kindness Bus a once-over to make sure I was safe for the road. As I was pulling out of the garage, I was handed 3 bonus quarts of oil.
Next up, rear brakes when I get to Arizona. I am half way to the total on a donation from Phil’s BBQ in San Diego. Anyone else feeling generous?
Thank you to everyone, in the many ways all of you help to keep this mission spreading a message of kindness across our country.

Nowhere to Go

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

2-23-12Nearly four months have passed since arriving in California in late October. There are sprawling areas of open land and sprawling cities with huge numbers of people. California, because of its sheer size, both in population and land mass, owns the distinction of being the first in many categories and surveys, when it comes to veterans homelessness.
Starting The Kindness Ride for Heroes in southern California, put me in the largest concentration of active military and veteran populations on the United States. Many return stateside and remain or come to this area live.
On any given night in our country, nearly 80,000 veterans are living on the streets. Sixteen percent of all homeless adults in our country are veterans. Riding The Kindness bicycle through California for the past four months has put me in direct contact with some of these veterans. Many of them aren’t aware of benefits that the VA can offer to them to make life easier. Some of them are hurting so much inside to seem to even care.
Reach out to help the homeless veterans at your next available opportunity, it’s the least we can do for those who put their life on the line for us at one time.