Kindness: Doing something and not expecting anything in return. This ideal is slowly disappearing as the age of commercialism and consumerism is upon us. Kindness is something that everyone needs, both the giver and the receiver, no matter how small. Random Acts of Kindness set out to do just that, to make kindness the norm.
Run by a team of three in Colorado, Rachelle Stubby and I chatted about kindness in today’s world.
Madison Sveum: Why was Random Acts of Kindness started?
Rachelle Stubby: The foundation was born in the 1990’s in the Bay Area by Will Glennon. It was during a summer of violence when a reporter noted that people should stop reporting on “random acts of violence” and start "practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." That started a movement; the foundation was born and soon thereafter was purchased by a private foundation and brought to Colorado.
MS: How did you get involved with RAK?
RS: I started working for RAK in May 2014 after a 13 year career in corporate America. I needed a shift in my perspective and wanted to spend each day making a positive change for our world. After taking a year hiatus, I was fortunate to come upon an opening for a position within the Foundation and I’ve been here ever since.
MS: That’s a big shift. How do you define kindness?
RS: As a foundation, we don’t have our own definition of kindness because kindness can mean different things to so many people. This is on the back of my business card – Kindness is spreading sunshine into other people’s lives regardless of the weather.
MS: Why is RAK necessary in today's society?
RS: Kindness is so simple yet has the power to change someone’s life. You never know what someone is going through and one simple act of kindness can shift their entire perspective. With all the negativity in the news it’s more important now than at any other time to elevate kindness and show how powerful it can be.
MS: What does RAK do in the community?
RS: We are a small team of 3 and while we’d love to do more in our community our time and efforts are mostly spent creating resources to encourage and inspire kindness. When we have time, we love connecting with those in our community by handing out food to the less fortunate, organizing clothing drives, hiding painted rocks around town, issuing fake parking tickets with positive messages, visiting local nursing home residents, etc.
MS: In a nutshell, you're giving people the tools and resources to show them that kindness is effortless. One of your initiatives is RAKtivists. Who are RAKtivists?
RS: RAKtivists are the heroes of our organization. They live and breathe kindness, share knowledge and lead by example. You can tell where they’ve been because they leave a trail of warm-and-fuzzy feelings in their wake. ‘RAKtivist’ is short for ‘Random Acts of Kindness Activist’. Think of RAKtivists like kindness ambassadors—and, like all ambassadors, they’re a part of an active, global community. RAKtivists are everywhere. The student who stops to hold the door open for a teacher with her hands full? That person is a RAKtivist. The commuter who offers their bus seat to an elderly passenger? That person is a RAKtivist too. The parking attendant who leaves a note on someone’s car, complimenting their parking skills? You guessed it: RAKtivist. Anyone who believes kindness can change the world, who reminds everyone around them how much love there is in the world, who inspires hope and generosity with their actions as much as their words—they’re a RAKtivist.
MS: Last question, why should one show kindness to those they know and don't know?
RS: It’s easy and doesn’t take much, e.g. smiling at a stranger, holding the door open, picking up a dropped item, saying hello/thank you, etc. You never know how big of an impact any act of kindness can create.
Learn more about Random Acts of Kindness Here.