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Back in 2010, at the midway point of my yearlong journey of giving away $10 a day to strangers while I was unemployed, I named June 15th the Worldwide Day of Giving. It’s a day I encourage others to try what I did day in and day out for my Year of Giving: give a stranger ten bucks! Now, I later broadened the scope of the day to include making a $10 donation to a nonprofit or volunteering for part of the day. Some people just aren’t comfortable going up to strangers and giving them money – much less taking a little time to get to know them.

William Jeffrey's Tavern. Photo: arlnow.com

William Jeffrey’s Tavern. Photo: arlnow.com

Well today I found myself over off of Columbia Pike in Arlington. I was having lunch with my friend Patricia. You may remember Patricia was the rock star who put my year-end celebration together on December 14th, 2010. It was an amazing night where I brought as many of the $10 recipients and followers of the blog together to celebrate the 365 day journey. Everything that night ran so smoothly thanks to Patricia who managed all the logistics.

So…back to the sunny sidewalks of Arlington. Patricia and I walked up to William Jeffrey’s Tavern for lunch. On the way up there, we passed an adorable young boy out playing in front of his house. The scene took me back to my own childhood and I was jealous of his day of playing with Transformers on the cool shaded front steps of what I assumed was his home.

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Patricia, Alfonso, his son Aaron and me.

After lunch we walked up to the Columbia Pike Blues Festival. When we got there we ran into Alfonso Lopez, a charming and charismatic 42-year-old who I learn is running for reelection as the Representative of the 49th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. We chat a bit and I shared with him that today was the Worldwide Day of Giving and explained a bit about the Year of Giving. “You’re THAT guy?” he blurted out. “I totally remember your story!” He then grabs the attention of the other half-dozen people who were nearby working the Democrat tent at the fair, “Hey guys, this is the guy who was unemployed and went around every day giving strangers ten dollars, remember him?” I wish I had a photograph of his colleagues and the quizzical looks that came over them. It was as if Alfonso had just spoke to them in Klingon. One guy looked down a bit and murmured sheepishly something like he was sorry that he didn’t know what he was talking about. The others, frozen in the confusion, kind of shrugged and then went back to their conversations. It’s no big deal…I don’t expect people to have heard of my project. But it is fun when they do!

At about this time his son Aaron shows up. It was the same youngster I had seen earlier that day playing. Something just seemed right at that moment and I handed Alfonso my ten spot for the day. “I’ll put five toward my campaign and give the other five to the democratic party of Virginia to help other delegates,” he said. I thought it was pretty cool that he wanted part of the money to go to help someone other than himself.

Alfonso was in high demand at the event. A constituent had stopped by to speak to him about an issue and I didn’t want to take more of his time. He gave me a firm handshake and shot me a smile and thanked me again. “Move to my district,” he said half kidding but half serious as we walked away. Let me tell you, if I moved to Virgina I’d be honored to have Alfonso represent me. Good luck in the election this fall!

If you also participated in the Worldwide Day of Giving today – go to the Facebook Page and share your story.

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The cast of A Year of Giving: Patrick Miller, Devon DuPay, Reed Sandridge, Steve Langley. Photo: Timothy Sharpe

It was the fifth and final night of A Year of Giving at the 2012 Fringe Festival. We sold out the day before and had several people trying to get tickets at the door – unfortunately they were turned away.

The performance went very well. I was really happy to that my friend Anthony from Day 67 was in the audience! That being said, the evening was a bit sad in that the show was coming to an end. A lot of hard work, time, energy and heart went into bringing this production to the stage and I am very thankful for all of those who were a part of that.

On this final evening, I gave my $10 to a woman seated near the back of the audience. I picked her because she kept looking straight ahead when I went into the audience…you know the type that is saying, “Please don’t pick me.” I actually like to choose them! Well, instead of me telling you how it happened, I am going to let Dale S. Brown, my $10 recipient that evening, tell you through her words that she so kindly sent to me via email. Here you go.

(more…)

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Jeff displaying his $10 after the show. And yes, I know. My camera phone sucks. Photo: Reed Sandridge

So last Sunday we did a matinée show. It went really well and we had a good crowd for a Sunday afternoon. Celia Wren from the Washington Post was there and did a very nice review on A Year of Giving – check it out!

So at the show…I gave my $10 away to Jeff M. He’s a program analyst with the government – he told me which (more…)

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Blog post by Sibyl W, a Kindness Investor from Brentwood, Tenn.

The Williamson County Park has a walking path that follows along a river on one side.  There’s a hopscotch design painted on the path and a little further up you’ll see three different circles with a sign that says:
Try this:

  • Stand in the circles, looking at each other. Make each other smile or laugh.
  • Hold hands, give your child a hug, a smile or a pat on the back.
  • Watch, listen and learn.  See what your child looks at, talks about and does.

As I went further up I stopped and met walking his little dog, Yachi.  Ed adopted this adorable dog and was told Yachi’s former owner was a lady from Japan who could no longer care for her.  Ed is in the process of teacher his dog to come to him in English because his first master spoke only Japanese.  One thing is for sure, she loves people and attention.  Ed was told Yachi means “good luck” in Japanese.  I don’t doubt she is.

I explained the Year of Giving to Ed and he accepted my offer of $10 dollars.  Ed told me, “for the rest of this year I’ll be working my bucket list. I’m going to travel to Vermont and check that out and I love Washington, I’m going to travel there as well.”

Ed has moved eight times in the last 17 years and he’s going to find the place where he’ll finally settle down.
I asked Ed what he might do with the $10 dollars and he said, “I’ll give it back to you so you can give it to the next person.”  I explained I couldn’t accept anything so he said, “well then I’ll probably give it to a cause, maybe the Humane Society.”

I wish Ed a safe trip and lots of fun while whittling down his bucket list.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

Today’s Intention ~ I am grateful.

Meet Miss Liz.  She is the hardworking friendly lunch aide and crossing guard at elementary school of my boyfriend’s son Gregory.  This mother of three daughters is always concerned about the children’s safety and was surprised by my gesture.  She showed her appreciation with a large smile.

According to Gregory, “Miss Liz is one of the nicest lunch aides! She is always happy and helps the children at the school.”

I wanted to involve Gregory in the project so I asked him why he was grateful for Miss Liz. He said, “Miss Liz cares for us, helps us when we need and is nice.”

She will be giving the money to the humanitarian efforts to help Japan.  She is so grateful for all that she has: food, clothing , shelter and feels it’s important to give back to people who have far less, especially the people of Japan.

I’m glad that today I was able to get a child involved in helping me give to someone; especially someone who offers so much help and support to children.

Today will be the last day that I will share my journey with you.  I am so grateful for having the opportunity to get involved in the Year of Giving!

It was a great joy to be part of it and I truly believe it inspires others as well.  I know today Gregory will be thinking more and more about giving.
A funny side note is that I keep finding money!  I found $6 in an old coat, $20 in the washing machine, and my mom gave me a scratch-off lottery ticket that won $50!

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I focus on listening.

My next Year of Giving experience brought me to my local library, a place I hadn’t really been to since I was a kid.  I was motivated to sign up for a library card when I was there because I found a series of children’s books called “The Way To Be” series which interested me.

This is where I met Carl B, who can best be described as “a wealth of historical knowledge”.  We began talking and Carl shared stories about Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Milton Hershey, Da Vinci, Pearl Harbor, The Roman Empire and Ancient Greeks.

He is currently unemployed himself, but dreams about being a highschool history teacher one day. I was amazed at the “wealth of knowledge” Carl has within him and could easily share with high school seniors.   He said he was always interested in history since 5th grade and he learned a lot from books and museums.  He did say history movies sometimes fabricate the truth but documentaries are more accurate.  What fascinated me was Carl, didn’t just share historical facts and info. He talks about history like he lived it and knew the people directly.  He talked about the character of people, the stories that aren’t always in text books, and the history of objects and technology.

Carl was very friendly, talkative and is truly motivated to make a difference in teens.  He said his dream would be to teach seniors specifically because that would be the last year to motivate them to go to college and continue learning.  He believes he is a self-taught historian because of his hunger to learn about the past.

Carl plans to donate the money to PHILABUNDANCE, an organization that helps feed the hungry throughout Philly and the Delaware Valley. Every year he gives them money and shares a quote from Deuteronomy.

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Blog post by Maria D., a Kindness Investor from Washington, DC.

 

Greetings to Emma, from Takoma Park, MD.  She’s lived in the area her whole life and loves the community she shares with others. She had a big dose of skepticism though and declined to be photographed or exchange contact information.  She decided to give the $10 to her friend Marilyn’s business as a donation.  “She’s in financial strain and I know she could use the money.”

 

When asked if we could do anything for her, she rummaged through her bags (luckily before the bus came) to find her friend Marilyn’s flyer.  “If you could get the word out, that’d be great.  She’s a really deserving person and just needs a break right now to help her with her family expenses piling up.”

 

Marilyn sells health products through her website portal: www.MarilynCooper.FreeLife.com.  So if you have time, check it out. Maybe you’ll find something you need and can help support a mom looking to take care of her family.  Thanks for the brief but encouraging encounter, Emma!

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