This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from a teen who showed the world the importance of embracing happiness, even in the wake of darkness. 18 year old Zach Sobiech passed away early this week after a 4 year battle with osteosarcoma. But before he passed away, Zach decided to write a song as a goodbye to his friends and family, which touched the lives of millions of people when it went viral on YouTube. Zach inspired and continues to inspire children and adults to always maintain a positive outlook. His girlfriend Amy said:
“He’s shown me it’s not all about the grades you get, or how cool you are in high school. It’s about doing what makes you happy and no matter when you’re going go to, live life to the fullest every day.”
You can watch an emotional documentary on Zach’s journey here. His family started the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund to support research into Zach’s rare form of cancer, so click the link to find out how you can lend your support. We are sending love to Zach’s family and friends. We are inspired by his message and think he epitomizes a Random Act of Kid-ness.
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Philadelphia, PA where first grader Ella Wilson brings food and blankets to the homeless people in her city every Thursday on her way to chemotherapy. Ella is getting treatment for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on the nerves. But to take her mind off her year-long treatment, she has decided to focus on making other people happy.
You can watch an inspiring video about Ella’s story and learn how you can help her raise money for neurofibromatosis research on her Facebook page here.
As always, we ask for your suggestions for our next RAK. Do you know someone who is doing random acts of kindness? Let us know!
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Louisville, KY where 8 year old Aiden Johnson and his family are in charge of their local chapter of Legos for Leukemia. The organization was started in 2009 by Christian Flanders in Denver, CO to honor the memory of his father, and “as a way to give kids fighting cancer and other life threatening diseases a fun and creative way to deal with not so fun days that include chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.” Legos take chemotherapy off the minds of children with Leukemia, like Aiden, who calls himself a Lego Master. Aiden’s mom says:
“It has taken his mind off the fact that he has cancer. It really has made a difference in the way treatments go. The long days and the long nights, we come in and we’re prepared. We have Legos and we’re ready to be here for a week.”
Because Aiden loves Legos so much and wants other children with cancer to experience the same joy he does, he and his family decided to head the Legos for Leukemia chapter at Kosair Children’s Hospital. People can donate new unopened Lego sets at drop off locations all over the area. So far, Aiden’s family has collected 50 Lego sets, but they still need many more.
We think this is such a great cause and are inspired by Aiden’s kindness. To read more about this story and to find out how to donate Legos, click here.
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Irvine, where 10 year old Jessica Carscadden came up with the We Care Bears Project that gives stuffed animals to first responders to hand out to scared or hurt children who they meet on the job. Jessica was abandoned in China when she was little because of a facial defect. She was adopted by a US couple, and she now wants to give back to children in need.
This week, Jessica delivered 75 bags of stuffed animals to the Orange County Fire District!
To watch a video about this story, click here.
Whether you and your family celebrated Diwali last week or are now making preparations for Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, this is a time of year where people around the world seek ways to bring light to the darkness of winter. While many of us will be lighting candles, exchanging gifts and enjoying sweet treats, we at the Zimmer Children’s Museum encourage families to carve out some time (and a bit of your budget) to be Joy Makers outside the walls of our own houses.
As parents, you have the brightest source of light there is. Kids! So as we approach the shortest day of the year, here’s our challenge to you: use your children. To spread light, give love and make joy, that is.
On Thanksgiving morning, I was out with my own 2 year-old son on a neighborhood walk. He was so excited that the day had arrived that he wished (okay, nearly accosted) every person we passed with “Happy Thanksgiving!” Without fail, he got responses. Delighted, grateful responses. I didn’t know any of those people we met that day. I don’t know if any of them were really moved by his sweet smiling face, but I also don’t know that they weren’t. Maybe someone was spending the holiday alone and needed that excited reception that so many of us look forward to on holidays. Maybe he helped someone to just stop, put down their phone and have a real-life human connection. Maybe. Or maybe not. But what I do know is he only made their days better even if in the smallest way. And that it made him so happy! Win win.
Our friends at Hasbro have a great catalog of ideas for you and your family to be Joy Makers this season. Whether the recipient is a neighbor, a stranger, a soldier or even a furry friend, what’s important is that our children know that being a Joy Maker need neither be expensive nor difficult. And that the return is always great for the giver. And thanks to Hasbro, this year the return is even greater because for every act of giving entered on their website, Hasbro will donate a toy this holiday season to a deserving child. Win win win.
So maybe this year, instead of a gift exchange, have each person/family bring $10. When they arrive tell them they have 30 minutes to spend that on a good deed for someone who isn’t expecting it. No limits. No rules. Just make someone’s day brighter. Then reconvene for those sweet treats and share your stories.
Or pick a project and ask families you know to participate. Collect gently used clothing or canned goods to donate. Send small stuffed animals to deployed soldiers to give to children as peace offerings. Play games at a senior center. On just stand on the corner and give compliments. The possibilities are endless.
And like anything, kindness takes practice but can develop into a habit. There’s no better time to start than today.
Zimmer Children’s Museum
PS — Please share with the Zimmer what you’ve done! While we encourage selfless acts, we also think that we can inspire each other!
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Poway, California, where 5 year old Ruby Knudson made a slideshow of hand-drawn memes to raise over $1,000 for her elementary school’s fundraiser. Ruby’s school does not allow kids to go door-to-door asking for donations, so Ruby and her dad came up with the meme idea. Ruby’s dad Nathan said:
“She’s learned that the computer is connected to real people and real things which can have a real impact. I’m trying to teach her that if you’re following the crowd through life you’re never going to be first to do anything.”
Ruby’s slideshow went viral on Reddit and got so many views that it crashed the fundraising site!
We love little creative thinkers! Good job, Ruby! Read more here.
This week’s Halloween-themed Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from San Bruno, CA, where 6 year old Nico Castro bought costumes and candy for his fellow hospital patients so that they could celebrate Halloween. Nico is battling brain cancer, but his doctor told him he could go out trick or treating on Halloween. Nico’s mom said:
“Even though he’s worse off then some of these other kids in the hospital, he’s worried about them and, oh, they can’t go trick or treating and oh they can’t get candy.”
Nico’s family even started a costume drive in their community, and they have received over 60 donated costumes for the children in the hospital.
We think this is an incredible act of kid-ness and are inspired by Nico’s desire to bring joy to his friends during his favorite holiday.
Read more and watch a very moving video about the story here.
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Maine, where 8 year old Abbie Jacobson stumbled upon a little green silk purse on the ground while shopping with her dad. Inside the purse was $4,000 in cash, a debit card, and a stash of gold rings, bracelets, and earrings, but no ID except for the name “Ra Rim” on the debit card. Abbie and her parents called the bank that issued the debit card, and they were able to connect the purse to Ra Rim, an elderly Cambodian immigrant. Ra Rim’s daughter said of Abbie:
“It’s just unbelievable [...] I couldn’t believe a person like this existed in the world.”
Abbie’s honesty came with a very special gift. In a story about this act of kindness in a local newspaper, Abbie (a HUGE Justin Bieber fan) had she said if she had $4,000 of her own, she would go to a Justin Bieber concert. The head of the Bank of Maine read this and called the Jacobsons, offering the entire family a trip to see Justin perform at a sold-out concert this fall in Boston!
To read more about this story and how Abbie’s family has become great friends with Ra Rim’s family, click here.
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Mandeville, Louisiana, where 8 year old Ashley Taylor wrote rules for her stuffed animals about how to stay safe during Hurricane Isaac. Ashley’s dad, Greg, had sent the family to Alabama to avoid the hurricane, and he found Ashley’s note later that day.
We think this is adorable (and responsible!).
Read more about Ashley and her family here. And for those of you affected by Hurricane Isaac, we are thinking of you!
This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Gardendale, Alabama, where 9 year old Brandi Odom drowned in a pond as she was trying to save her younger brother. Local Fire Department Chief, Robert Taylor, said:
“This is a tragedy but she gave her life to save her little brother. She is a hero.”
You can read more about this tragic story of heroism here.
We at the Zimmer send our best wishes to Brandi’s family.