Archive for November, 2012

One of Your Many Choices in Life

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Does the thought, I think I’ll get up and make some crystal meth in the backyard shed today?, happen on a spur of the moment or is it a slow steady downward spiral to a life of hellish addiction?
The juxtaposition of a story of The Kindness Bicycle sharing the front page with a story of a 38 year old man making some incredibly wrong decisions, was a lesson in life choices to say the very least. This 38 year old, was concocting meth in a shed, a mere 100 feet from a school. Somehow, someway, you hope and pray people like him, by getting caught, will transform them and change their life to be able to help others who choose this living hell.
If you are thinking about doing drugs, don’t!
If you are doing drugs, stop!
These two statements are part of The Kindness Bus Tour’s message to kids, and after seeing these two articles share the front page, I am adding them to the side of The Kindness Bus tomorrow.
Having a lifetime goal of kindness, can save you from a living hell of many an affliction. It is one of your many choices in life.

More Great Press

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

11-29-12Scripps newspaper photographer, Christopher Arnold has been a huge help for the Ring Our Country with Kindness bicycle ride while I have been riding along the Treasure Coast of Florida. Twice, his photographs of the Kindness Bicycle have graced the front page of the 2nd section of two newspapers in coastal communities. It has been a big help and is getting us some great exposure.
Today I visited five schools, talking with educators and guidance counselors about the ROCK ride. Miss Davis, a counselor from New Horizons visits 5 schools in the district. She talks with kids, about their lives and tries to remedy some of the problems one at a time. She is going to do some research on some of the tools on the One Million Acts Of Kindness website. She loved the Kindness Certificate.

Jupiter, Florida

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

11-28-12 aWhat a friendly town Jupiter is. I have been here once before and the townsfolk have opened their hearts and arms, embracing the goal of kindness I am trying to promote. I visited 4 schools in Jupiter with a very interested audience.
Cindy McGee, the Physical Education instructor at Jupiter Academy, was thrilled to see someone ride up on a bicycle with a sign which reads, “Riding 9,000 miles for kids.” I am hoping to be able to visit this school again in late January. One of my other stops was to Jupiter Elementary School. They are doing everything right in educating the students at this “Five Star School.”
A local radio station, WJTW learned of my visit and reported on my travels in their town. I’ll take all the good press I can get.

A Full Day by Noon

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

11-28-12I started the day researching future stops and routes for the upcoming 2 weeks and then headed south to Fort Pierce, Florida. I had an appointment to meet with Chris Arnold, a photographer for Scripps Newspapers. It was his photo that graced the cover of the 2nd section of the Press Journal in Vero Beach. He wants to do the same sort of story for the Scripps paper in Fort Pierce. We met for quite some time for an interview and photo shoot.
My 2nd stop was for a very early lunch at a local restaurant owned by Scott Van Duzer who is a huge supporter of local community efforts and needs. He is going to arrange a talk at the Boys and Girls Club on my return trip through  Fort Pierce.
I headed next to Indian River State College. I met with student advisor, Sharon Lowe. She has had a long career of counseling adolescents and was an instant fan of my mission.
Janie Gould at WQCS, a local radio station did a very nice interview, focusing on the “why” of my ride.
Jackie at the Saint Lucie County School Board was next up and is going to make copies of my handout sheet and post one in their lunch room.
In the early afternoon hours, I met Mindi Fetterman, a very courageous survivor. She is starting a local sexual abuse/rape crisis center in Fort Pierce. She has a huge passion for helping those with a very big need in a very big way. I have no doubt, this woman is going to make a huge difference in the lives of many people.
Thank you to good friend James from Fort Pierce for helping with most of the logistics to today’s visits.

St. Peter’s Preparatory Academy

Monday, November 26th, 2012
I love visiting schools across the country and talking to the students, teachers  and faculty about having a goal of kindness. To me, It is the best deterrent to bullying. Today I visited Saint Peter’s Prep in Gifford, Florida, on the invitation of Barbara Andrews, who heads the Administration Department. This K-6 academy is doing a wonderful job of helping to learn the core character building traits while getting an academic education. These very well behaved children have some challenging lives so I tried to let them know the greatness they can reach in their lives. After the program ended, one of the 5th grade students came over and told me, “You changed my life today.” It was a very special moment. I hope all children feel a sense of pride and a feeling that they truly can be great person in this world after my program. Samuel Bristol, Dean of the School had some equally kind things to say about the program. “This was good for the kids,” was one of them.
While out riding, I met Alexandra, a young Swedish mother of two young boys who live in Vero. She has decided to be a stay at home mom and give her children the best possible upbringing she can. What a refreshing conversation the four of us had.
An article about One Million Acts Of Kindness was in a recent issue of South Magazine in Savannah. The link is below.

Please Share These Two Stories with Everyone

Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Three years ago, I met two incredible people along the travels of The Kindness Bus Tour. I created a box above, on this website, to honor heroes along the way. I posted two stories three years ago and then haven’t given it much thought until this morning.
Both of the heroes represent the two reasons I am on my current Ring Our Country with Kindness ride. Their stories are below:
Hero, Anna

Anna is a survivor, a suicide survivor. Anna is also a hero, a modern day hero.  She dedicates most of her recent life to Hospice and Suicide Prevention. “Spreading kindness and doing acts of kindness for others can heal the most broken of hearts” she says. This is how she has chosen to live her life. Selflessly giving of herself to others, in their greatest time of need. Helping others as her heart heals. She is a living lesson for all of us. Her lesson is as powerful as they come. She has been to a place that all of us hope we will never have to be. She helps to bring back hurting individuals from their darkest place…back to a safe place. She is a comfort to so many as she goes about what has become her passion. As I travel the country, meeting individuals like Anna is so rewarding to me. Learning from the lessons from people like her helps me to better tell students about finding the passion inside them, the passion to help those in need. There aren’t many more things in life that are more important than service to one’s community. She knows how to find just the right words to say at just the right moment. Powerful words of encouragement. She’ll tell you of holding on to the most important belief in your heart to get you beyond an obstacle in your life that you are convinced is insurmountable. How lucky we are to have people like Anna.

Anna also works in Hospice. It takes a special person to be a friend to those who are about to leave this physical world. She is able, because her kind, caring heart is open to everyone, open with an altruistic love to those who may need her for a few short, last moments of their life here on earth. She is the gentle hand that is held as a person releases their hold from this life to their peaceful place of rest. What a beautiful person Anna is. Helping those who look for her comfort, in their greatest time of need. Every one of us could learn volumes from the way in which Anna lives her life. May you know nothing but kindness, beautiful Anna.

Hero, Will Tidwell

Soft spoken and deliberate in nearly every word he chooses to use to explain himself. From the moment I met him, this polite young man asked if I needed a helping hand finding my way around his campus. A big guy, with an inner pride one could detect by the way he spoke, taking time out of his day to help a total stranger, living life by example. This is Will Tidwell. We talked for the entire time we walked across his campus, while he showed me different buildings, landmarks, and the far ridge in which his home was beyond. We talked of his family; his mother is a local teacher and his father, a professor at the campus. One could almost see the foundation of core values, I am sure were instilled in Will at an early age. Core values like, respecting others, pride in community, love of family, and his personal faith. I was about to learn of another value Will has, a core value all of us can learn from, if put in a similar place.
All the while we walked, it seemed as if Will wanted to share something with me and was waiting for just the right moment. Something that is still hard for him to share with others. For seven years, Will was bullied. Seven years of daily torment. Seven years of breaking his spirit. Seven years of verbal and physical abuse. Seven years, at much too young an age to have to deal with by oneself, but Will did. Will was subjected to such negative hatred that it nearly broke him. Because of the insecurities of others, Will faced this undeserved sentence. However, Will had something that the bullies didn’t realize. Will had a belief in himself. A belief in himself because of his core values.

It has been a couple of years since the perpetrators spirit was broken and Will is the person he is, the person he always was. He gets his strength not from knowing that he finally overcame the years of abuse. He gets his strength from a core value he learned as a young man…Forgiveness. Thank you Will’s parents for giving this world such a great young man.
***If you or anyone you know is a victim of bullying or domestic abuse, notify the authorities.

The Source

Saturday, November 24th, 2012
11-24-12On my last day of volunteering this Thanksgiving Week, I went to The Source, a local homeless outreach center. This faith-based busy center cares for the needs of many of the homeless in the community. They provide meals, referrals for housing and employment. They have classes to help those with addictions and have anger management courses as well.
Christal, the Life Skills Counselor, was my contact person for volunteering here today. She wears many hats here and between she and the other nine staff members accomplish the impossible it seems. Today the center was only open in the morning, allowing me time to get some much needed miles on The Kindness Bicycle. This town is starting to get crowded for the season as many families have come south for Thanksgiving. I had some very powerful conversations with adults and kids alike. Bullying and Suicide have been occurring in all previous generations. It hurts individuals and often times the hurt remains for years. Helping others who are struggling can go a long way to help by having a dialogue of sharing past experiences. It is a win-win situation that helps everyone involved.