Archive for June, 2010

Oh, The People You’ll Meet, NYC

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

New York City is such a perfect place for this movement. Travelers from every country come here during the summer months. One common thread connects all of them; a want for peace. Peace in their lives, peace in their families, peace in their neighborhoods and towns, which can spread across every imaginable boundary. I’ve talked with people from over 40 countries, each of them love the mission of One Million Acts Of Kindness. The seeds of kind actions, are literally drifting across the globe to take root where they set down. Growing kindness in this manner, one person or small group at a time, but by the thousands per week, will create a global garden of kindness.
Today, a young woman in her early twenties, who lives on the Upper West Side met me and came back a half hour later with her teenage brother so he could talk with me about having a goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness in his life. They are starting a garden of kindness, right in their own backyard.

More Heroes for All of Us

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

6-29-10Engine 58 is on 5th Ave. in the northern part of Manhattan. It was my first stop today and had special meaning for my cousin Brother Al from the Marianist community in Cape May Point, NJ. Brother Al was the Fire Chief in Cape May Point for more than twenty years, they are Engine 58 as well. Soon after September 11th 2001, the Cape May Point 58 had NYC 58 as guests for several days in NJ.
The second firehouse we visited, is on Roosevelt Island in the middle of the East River, Bogart looked like he wanted some exercise so we decided to walk across the Queensboro bridge from Manhattan. We parked the bus and started our three hour walk to and from Roosevelt Island. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people walked across the bridge deck on 9/11 during our walk. We arrived at the specialty firehouse which handles decontamination, rescue, hazardous spills and many other types of highly skilled services. Most of the training for the firefighters from all the boroghs come here for training. Eddie, a very helpful, informative firefighter, rescued Bogart from thirst after our long walk to his firehouse. Eddie gave us a the background on all of the equipment used in their charge. This dedicated staff is professional in every way.
Marine 1 was my final of all of the forty-nine firehouses I visited on Manhattan over a five day period. A Lieutenant on duty gave me a behind the scenes tour of their temporary digs at Pier 40. We were invited in for coffee and to witness some of the goings-on, including a very great looking lunch which was being prepared. Marine 1 and the two smaller of watercraft have an unbelievable amount of open water and shoreline of the five boroghs and smaller islands of New York City to patrol.

Community School for Social Justice, Bronx, NYC

Monday, June 28th, 2010

6-28-10Visionary, Sue-Ann Rosch had a dream for education in her area of the Bronx. A passion for changing the environment in which children were struggling to learn. Faced with a graduation rate well below national standards and an attendance rate of about fifty per cent, she knew something had to change. She sought a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to start a public school with a very small student body. Competing with nearly 100 schools, she tirelessly worked to realize her dream, seeing her efforts pay dividends in the form of a start-up grant. Eight years have passed, and as principal, she intimately witnesses the needs of each of the 360 students, in order to make informed decisions to address issues which may arise. Ninety-eight per cent of the senior class was accepted by a college, testament to the passion of the staff assembled at this school.
I was afforded the honor to speak at the commencement ceremonies of this special school by Lonice Eversley. Randy Pedro, a gentle giant of a man, who teaches religious studies at Fordham Prep School, knows Lonice and requested I talk to the graduates at the ceremony. What an honor it was to help send-off these bright young stars to a college in the Fall. Congratulations! Class of 2010 graduates; Community School for Social Justice, The Bronx, NY.

The Friendly Upper West Side, NYC

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

6-27-10Block by block there are neighborhoods of individuals, couples and families on The Upper West Side who have opened their hearts to The Kindness Bus Tour. Faces of people who have seen Bogart taking me for a walk throughout their neighborhoods, now have names and stories they want to share about their stories of kindness. Many of them have opened their homes as an offer of hospitality to the traveling Kindness Bus Tour.
The Kindness Bus magically found it’s way to the two most sought after parking spots near The Dakota both Saturday and Sunday. I talked with hundreds of people from across the globe about my mission. Bogart and I started a new means of connection with people we met today. On the homepage of my website, there is a link to download a One Million Acts Of Kindness certificate pledge. I did so, and made 100 copies to take with me to the Imagine Mosaic. There, people took a pledge, as they wrote their names on their personal copy to take with them to hang in a prominent location of their home or office as a constant reminder of their lifetime goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness.
We have a few more days in Manhattan and will give a talk at Fordham Prep in the Bronx and visit the remaining firehouses here.
I am thankful, beyond words, for all the wonderful kind acts bestowed upon The Kindness Bus Tour, by new-found kind souls.

A Closely Knit Family, Manhattan

Friday, June 25th, 2010

6-25-10Bogart wanted to spend the day chillin’ but we had work to do. Sorry, Bogart!
I have a new-found appreciation for anyone who has to make a living driving the streets of the southern-most part of Manhattan. The congestion, tight turns, one-way roads, no turn here, and just when you think you have figured it out and have made three or four turns to get where you are going, the road construction detours you yet again. The Kindness Bus made some very creative moves today, I wonder if NASCAR has a bus division.
We visited fourteen firehouses today, traveling just over ten miles in nine hours; we broke the 1mph barrier. In four days time we have visited forty-six firehouses on Manhattan, leaving three more to visit on Monday, before we start visiting the next borough’s houses.
Today was tough, not just because of the navigational nightmare, but because of the proximity of these firehouses to ground zero. The 343 fallen heroes were largely from these very first to respond firehouses. They and their surviving coworkers are the real role-models children should look to for core values. The firefighters at these houses are a very closely knit family of brothers and sisters working in close unison, for our safety, every time the alarm sounds.
I was surprise when I arrived at Liberty Street and I was waved down to visit “The Ten House” at ground zero as Ten Engine and Ten Ladder were just coming back from a run. This visit was very short, as parking was extremely limited and the guys were busy getting out of their gear and paying my respects and thanks were echoed by the many who had walked down the ramp.

Modern Day Heroes, Manhattan

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

6-24-10On this the third day of taking the time to thank firefighters throughout New York City, one common trait became evident, all of their voices are filled with a soft-spoken bravery. Never once have I heard anyone taking credit for personal benefit. They are all cut from the same cloth. My talks in schools in the upcoming school year will be enriched by these heroes and the stories they tell. Today I visited sixteen firehouses and was fortunate to find twelve of the houses full. Bogart is becoming a huge hit throughout Manhattan. He was given a firehouse treat at nearly every house. The Kindness Bus is receiving the “Red Carpet” treatment at each stop we make. Most of these men I am meeting were at ground zero on September 11th. They continue on with their work with that same soft-spoken bravery by which they live their lives. They are our modern day heroes. Take the time to thank them.

A big thanks goes out to a wonderful woman named Angie for her kind words and generosity.  Thanks as well to Colleen and her daughter for the huge interest in this mission.

Busy in Manhattan

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

6-23-10Today was one of those days where you are left wondering, where all the time went. We started on the Upper West Side, visiting firehouses and the heroes who man them. Every visit brings a new found respect for these men. No matter what is being done at the house, they always find the time to talk to me about One Million Acts Of Kindness’ mission.  Bill, a Lieutenant at the W 77th Street firehouse found time from what he was doing, to come out and look at The Kindness Bus. He decided on the spot how well the message dovetailed with the work firefighters do for others. I visited five firehouses this morning, finding that the dedication to helping those in need is the main reason that all these men are the best of role-models.
This afternoon I was interviewed by The Odyssey Network, for an upcoming segment on their broadcast to a diverse multi-faith viewership. We were lucky enough to create a parking space near central park, affording the opportunity to talk in and out of the bus and in the park as well. The professional crew from Odyssey, worked with me for the better part of two hours to get my message across on camera.
Late in the afternoon, Gayle stopped by the bus, she told me she was on an MTA bus when she spotted The Kindness Bus, she got off at the next stop two blocks away and walked back to find out about the mission. She then had to walk back two blocks to continue on her way. This is another Kindness Bus “first”.