How did you feel the last time someone did something truly, selflessly kind for you?
You probably felt a warmth, a moment of gratitude that tells you you’re appreciated, and that someone has acknowledged that you matter.
Now, more than ever, we need this feeling in our lives, which is why the Victoria Foundation is celebrating a full week of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) this year.
Previously a day-long event, this special week encourages community members to do something nice for someone while asking for nothing in return, except that they ‘pay it forward’ with an act of kindness.
The act doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It should simply spread kindness in your community.
“A motto I try to live by is ‘when in doubt, do the kindest thing,’” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation.
“No act of kindness is wasted. When we approach people with empathy, patience and a willingness to listen and learn, our community can be a much more welcoming place. I encourage everyone to take part in an act of kindness, no matter how large or small.”
RAK was established in Canada by the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation in 2008, and since 2015, the Victoria Foundation has been celebrating RAK by encouraging local businesses and non-profits to take part.
The hope is to grow the movement, to show what kindness can do for all facets of our community and that small acts can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Community leaders look to celebrate RAK Week
Shelly D’Mello, CEO of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, says kindness is at the heart of the association’s values: “It’s vital to helping newcomers feel welcome and to have a sense of belonging in their new country and community.”
For RAK Week, the association’s Childcare team plans to make handmade bookmarks with the children to distribute. Language instructors for newcomers also plan to help higher-level English students write cards for seniors in long-term care.
“It’s always rewarding to find new ways to share kindness in the community,” says D’Mello.
Likewise, Jeff Bray, CEO of the Downtown Victoria Business Association says the city’s local businesses “thrive on sharing selfless kindness with customers, their staff and the broader community.”
“The DVBA supports Random Acts of Kindness Week and encourages all of us to embrace kindness as a way of being.”
How you can celebrate RAK Week
There are many ways you can share a little kindness in the world, but if you need some inspiration, here are a few ideas:
- Hold the door open for someone
- Raise or donate money to a local charity
- Phone a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while
- Leave a 5-star review for your favourite local business
- Buy coffee for the person in line behind you
- Send flowers to someone
- Run an errand for someone
- Donate books to a little library
- Pick up trash at the beach or park
Here’s some inspiration for the youngsters in the community:
- Help with chores around the house
- Leave a kind letter in a library book
- Call your grandparents to catch up
- Pick up litter (wear gloves!)
- Hold the door for your classmates at lunch or recess
- Donate clothes or toys you’ve outgrown
If someone does something kind for you from February 12 to 17, share your experiences on social media using #RAKweekYYJ and tag @victoriafoundation for a chance for your post to be shared.
For more RAK Week inspiration and information, visit www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca