Random or Planned — Kindness Matters

By February 17, 2020December 9th, 2020Community Volunteerism
A group of Blue Crew volunteers

Carol Dunleavy (left) and other members of the Blue Crew, volunteering at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House

When I was first asked to write a blog about kindness, my initial reaction was, “Would anyone listen to my thoughts on kindness?” While I consider myself to be a kind person, I wasn’t sure if everyone else would agree. In my role as a Human Resources professional, I have to make tough decisions, deliver bad news, and have difficult conversations with associates — the types of things that some would consider the opposite of kind.

Kindness is in All of Us

But as I thought about it, I realized that most of us (regardless of our job or role) are truly kind people whether we believe it or not.  We show kindness to others at so many points in our life (sometimes almost daily) without even thinking about it, like holding the elevator door for someone, buying a cup of coffee for the person waiting in line behind you, complimenting a stranger, or giving food or warm clothing to someone in need on the sidewalk.

Recently, Independence Blue Cross hosted a blood drive at our Center City location. Without even thinking about it, some associates just stopped in and gave blood. That simple act of kindness may save up to three lives in the community — that’s powerful!

As we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, I encourage everyone to keep up the small, spontaneous acts of kindness. The smallest gesture can make the biggest impact on someone. Best of all, your kindness can inspire others to be kind, creating a domino effect of kindness.

Kindness in the Community

But acts of kindness don’t always need to be random. If you have a heart to help others, I would encourage you to also consider larger, planned acts such as volunteering. The Blue Crew, Independence’s corporate volunteer program, is a perfect example of the impact kindness can have.

Through the Blue Crew, our associates and their family and friends commit to sharing their time, talent, and treasure to help others in need in the region.

Whether it’s cooking and serving meals to families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House, helping students from the Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary School learn to read during lunch, or beautifying a local park or school, their kindness strengthens our community today and for future generations.

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

As you can see, all kindness (random or planned) matters and makes a difference, whether you see it or not. But when you do get to witness the impact, it’s amazing! I can attest to that.

Recently, I was volunteering at a local organization when I noticed a young mother of two children. She was holding both children and trying to feed them at the same time. The one child had severe disabilities and you could tell that she was really struggling. As a mother, I wanted to help her but didn’t want to offend her.

After hesitating for a few minutes, I went over and offered to hold her baby while she fed her other child. She stopped and looked at me, and I immediately thought I had insulted her, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. She started to cry and told me that she had been holding them for hours, so she would appreciate the help. I held her one child while she fed the other. She even had a chance to get some food for herself.

In that moment, I felt so grateful for all the blessings in my life and for the opportunity to be able to help her. It blows my mind to know that such a small gesture of kindness could make such an impact for someone. It made my heart swell with happiness.

Make it a Habit

As you go about your day, I challenge you to think about your daily activities and how you can show a little kindness to others — your kind word or gesture could change someone’s day.

 

Carol Dunleavy

About Carol Dunleavy

Senior Employee Relations Partner in Human Resources by day; mom, wife, sister, friend, and volunteer by night.