Archive for March, 2010

Port St. Lucie Kindness

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Bogart - animal hospital 3-31-10Bogart’s body language says it all. “Let me go back on the bus, I’m in perfect health.” I couldn’t drive by this animal clinic without taking a picture of Bogart in front of the sign. We visited the staff and are now convinced that the clinic is named after them. They are now on board to spreading the message of One Million Acts of Kindness to their customers.
With the new addition of a puppet show to The Kindness Bus Tour, I decided to talk to people who are in “the know” with what works with young children and equally important, what doesn’t. My first visit was with the Port St. Lucie Fire Department. The information I was provided was invaluable. It was here, that I decided that one of the shows should include a few words about fire safety. A lieutenant from the Fire Prevention Public Education Department was kind enough to call to share her knowledge. I now know that the terms; Stop, Drop and Roll, and Stay Low and Go will be used in the puppet shows. I also visited the local library to talk with the children’s librarian. I learned a long-time children’s librarian had recently passed. From talking with the staff briefly, they shared with me how thoughtful and caring she was with the children; those two words resounded with me. What a great woman this community had in her. I am planning on talking with educators in the next few days. This should give me a well rounded understanding of what will work in the puppet shows. Youtube here we come.

Meet Our New Friends

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Stuffed animals  3-30-10We picked up a few friends along the way and have invited them on The Kindness Bus Tour. Moving in great new directions, as time passes, it has become clear to us that we needed a fun group of friends to entertain all of the young children we will be visiting in hospitals and schools. I am now surrounded by a menagerie of animals which will, in time, increase in numbers, I’m sure. We are currently drawing plans, for the street on which they live and creating three short shows.
Without further ado, let me present a group of furry friends who I hope will bring smiles to children across the universe, with the hopes of teaching core values they will carry with them throughout their lives.

E-E-E; When this monkey puts his head out the window of his house to say something, the audience cries out his name E-E-E.
Hoolio;  He is a bilingual owl, every line he says has the sound, hoo. This wise owl spins every time he comes up with an idea to solve a problem.
Skippity-hop;  When she speaks, she hops up and down.
TC the Tree Climber;  Lives in a tree because she doesn’t know how to get back down.
Incablases aka Mutt;  Teaches kids racial tolerance because he himself, is a little of every breed.

Delray Weekend

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Bogart 3-28-10This is the kind of weekend I love, wall to wall people. Delray was filled with people of all ages, needless to say, I decided to stay. I set up shop at a great little spot called Coco’s, where the passers-by had to queue through a gauntlet of well-behaved dogs, sitting with their owners at this sidewalk cafe. For three days, I was able to meet some of the greatest people from all throughout the country. All had different stories to tell, all with the same want for the world. I love to talk to families with young children. The lessons that I impart may have meaning to them in their futures, nothing can be more important for them to learn from all of us. Two teachers, a principal and a school board member, all shared the concern of a need for a respect for one another among students. The environment in which children are having to learn is becoming more hostile; the two don’t mix. The lessons aren’t being learned at home, the teachers stressed. Sounds like it is time for Bogart and The Kindness Bus Tour to try to work some magic… If it only were that simple.
The local residents of Delray, bent over backwards to make our stay memorable. Many went out of their way to help the cause. Andi, a local shopkeeper was so thrilled with The Kindness Bus Tour, she is now one of our kindness ambassadors. The managers at Bostons put me up for a couple of nights, even the local fire department were kind to let us stay overnight. The firemen, work with kids in school as well, and were excited about my mission. Bohdan, a local resident contacted his friend, a professor at Rutgers about our mission. His friend Professor Bopel talks to his class about kindness every day. Shaun, a young man in his twenties, was very considerate in sharing his life beliefs, he is wise beyond his years. I encouraged him to share these stories with teenagers every chance he gets. I could probably talk about one hundred individuals that I met this weekend, that’s how good it was.
Bogart had more competition from this dog-friendly town than any other we have visited. I think every breed recognized by the AKC was represented this weekend; all of them spoiled equally.

Mentoring and More

Friday, March 26th, 2010

This blog is dedicated to those who have decided to pay it forward to the next generation. When an individual gives of one’s self for the betterment of another, an interesting dynamic takes place; the individual being helped, usually ends up helping others in the future. This method of paying it forward is the basis of altruism. Charity from the heart can cause great things to happen by positively affecting all parties involved. By stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to look for opportunities to do good for others, creates an environment in which great things can occur. Making time in your life to hand down meaningful experiences to those younger than you, will teach them, so they can be proud of what they can then give in return; giving them an educational foundation on which they can build a better life for themselves. Say to yourself, “Who can I help today?”… say this everyday.  Make a future possible for someone who can use a “hand up”
Early this past week, I had an invitation to speak to students at Lely High School in Naples, Florida. This offer would not have happened, be it not for the mentors and students of this High School. A group of eight professional retirees, who have all the tools and experience to facilitate that “hand up”, are focused in making a
dream of attending college after high school, a goal worth working towards for eight students. These eight students, will be the first in their families to ever attend a college or university. The mentor’s wish for students to succeed is what drives the program. The mentors give of themselves with want for nothing, except to see the students succeed, that in itself is the reward. Giving back to others, is what many retirees are opting for in ever-increasing numbers. There are great things on the horizon for eight students because of the caring hearts of eight mentors.
A very big thank you goes out to Peg Reale, all the teachers, administrators, and students at Lely High School. Eight very dedicated students worked to make my visit very memorable, eight big thanks.  The Mentors and More program, made up of eight talented individuals, was instrumental in making my visit happen, I am honored to have been asked, thank you so much. Judy and Duncan rolled the “Red Carpet” from my door to their’s, this was a huge act of kindness. Thank you to all.

Tennis and Lunch and Delray

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Bogart 3-25-10No trip through South Florida would be complete for me, without calling my friend Jack, to play a quick game of tennis. I decided to play hooky for a few hours, and do just that. What a good call this was. The tennis was good, the laughs even better and seeing a familiar face is a welcome sight when one is on the road. The day is never complete by just playing tennis, Jack always insists on making lunch a part of the festivities. This could quite possibly have been the best lunch of my life. Without going into details, there were a number of very interested parties who loved the potential of this mission and what promoting this mission means to everyone. The possibility of a kindness movement that sweeps across this nation is becoming more likely with each passing day.
By the time I got back to the bus, it was already 3:30, making a campus visit out of reach. I decided to park the bus in a highly visible spot on a main street in Delray, a village by the ocean as to how it is referred. We are getting our money’s worth from the money spent on the parking meter, in a little over three hours thus far, over four hundred people have passed by the bus taking time to read its messages. I have talked to at least fifty people, one is even arranging for me to talk at his daughter’s school. I’ve decided to stay three more hours. Another good call!

Hollywood, Florida

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Bogart in Hollywood  3-25-10We spent the morning hours in South Beach before heading to Hollywood. The paparazzi were out in force early today, The Kindness Bus was their main focus. More pictures were taken of The Kindness Bus than the beautiful Art Deco architecture in this modern day seaside mecca. One thing about this place, they sure love their dogs. Bogart was a big hit with everyone. No surprise here.
Hollywood is a gem on the east coast, small town atmosphere with amazingly friendly people. We headed to the beach and found more of the same. There was a group of about ten people who couldn’t believe they were seeing the bus they had read about in their AARP newsletter. The word is getting around in a big way. Hollywood has an unbelievable beach which is tucked away at the terminus of many short lanes. Being away from campuses allows me to be able to talk with all sorts of groups. One of my favorites is talking with parents and their children. The children connect with the messages on the kindness bus and Bogart holds their attention while they enjoy learning the meaning of the messages. This is why I do this.  By days end, I talked with over three hundred people, including several families.

South Beach Spring Break

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Bogart in a chair 3-24-10Somebody’s sitting down on the job and it isn’t me. I took one look at Bogart this morning and decided on some much needed R&R. I said to myself, why not head to South Beach? Heading through Hollywood, a beautiful community just south of Ft. Lauderdale, I received an email from Jennifer Sandomir, the publisher of The Hollywood Gazette. She said she was sending a photographer out to capture our visit to Hollywood. Jack Siriani showed up to capture our visit, he was completely about the message of kindness. On our way to SB, a police car pulled behind me with his lights on. What?? He’s motioning me to pull over the Kindness Bus. My mind started racing, what had I done? Apparently, I didn’t realize that I had left my emergency flashers on from parking in the street for the picture taking in Hollywood. He let me off with a thanks for the work I am trying to accomplish. He left with a stack of stickers for the police department. Thank you officer.
Arriving in SB, I was able to find a prime parking spot right on Ocean Drive, not wishing to miss an opportunity of such a big crowd in the area of The Kindness Bus, I decided to work today. I met some unbelievably interested people wanting to volunteer making this a very good day indeed. So much for R&R.