Cultivating Kindness in the Next Generation

Everybody needs a shot of good news everyday. As for me, my dosage of inspiration usually comes from stories involving children who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for other people, or other people who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for children. In this blog, it’s no secret that I am partial to featuring the little people of the next generation who’ve shown some really impressive abilities, such as a great deal of empathy.

Some children first understand the need to help others because of their own plight. For instance, a deaf boy started his own fundraising initiative to provide hearing aids for his fellow deaf children. Others are inspired by their loved ones, like this high schooler who invented an AI system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease. It goes to show that at an early age, children already have a deep enough understanding of love and already think of the welfare of those around them.

But it doesn’t stop there either. Some children can even empathize with those who live way beyond their backyards and come from backgrounds way different from theirs. At times of disasters, for instance, children show that they feel so much for people that are suffering, as exemplified by an 8-year-old who collected over a thousand toys that he eventually gave away to Puerto Rican kids after the terrible hurricane. Unfortunately, some adults aren’t even able to have this kind of empathy, but some kids definitely do.

Meanwhile, some preschoolers just want to have fun and eventually end up helping others out, like this prodigious 5-year-old who sells her own astounding galaxy paintings and donates the proceeds to a charity.

But what do these stories of the next generation mean for us who come before them? Should we feel bad and envious that they are already doing so much more? Should our generation take credit for raising such beautiful children? No, though perhaps possible, none of those seems right.

Some groups of people have already figured out what to do and what their role is. Educational institutions in New York have been trying to address the problem of inequality by providing free lunches to kids of lower status, while libraries in Los Angeles have waived book rental fees for readers under the age of 21. This Massachusetts startup is making life better for kids with autism by providing smart glasses that can help them track emotion and improve their social skills. Disney itself committed 100 million dollars to children’s hospitals.

That’s right. What we need to do for the next generation is show them that they can become the best versions of themselves, because this world is going to be kind to them. And we have to make sure that it happens. We absolutely have to make this world a better place for the people who will succeed us, so that they may continue on the good work.

Not all of us can donate millions of dollars or invent something incredibly beneficial. But there are things we can do, like volunteer our time and skills to organizations dedicated to the welfare of children, mentor kids in our community who show interest in the fields we know about, support and participate in school and after-school programs, and many others. Sometimes, even showing compassion to tiny members of the family like our own children or nephews and nieces might already be enough.

In the end, it’s all about the culture of kindness that we cultivate for them, so that when the time comes for them to take charge of the world, they can take things further and make it an even better place. We have to inculcate kindness in them, so that they can pay it forward and be even kinder to others. No doubt, cultivating kindness in the next generation means that we ourselves have to be kind to each other. As they say, lead by example.

One such app with the same mission is BeepBeep Nation. It aims to make the world a better place by connecting people who need help and others who can offer it. Providing a plethora of opportunities to give back and help out, it enables people to exercise compassion the way they want to. Ultimately, BeepBeep Nation encourages people to share their lives with one another and believe in a future built on kindness. This is exactly the kind of mindset that our children should learn as they are growing up.

Fuelled by the EMINENT token, the BeepBeep Nation app is set to launch soon, in selected cities worldwide. Pre-sale of the token is already live, with some bonuses available. Check out the ICO now! It’s never too early for children to find the heart to help out, and it’s never too late for us to encourage them to do so.

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Random Act Of Kindness Saves Coffeegoer’s Life

Kind gestures are often extra special when received from a stranger. Do-gooders like Brennon Jones, a barber for the homeless, can probably vouch for that. A little always goes a long way, sometimes even saving a life. Such was the case for Glen Oliver, who inspired an anonymous suicidal coffeegoer to live by paying for his drink.

“I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason. Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose,” [read a letter sent to a local column.]

Oliver, who had once shouldered a needy shopper’s tab, claimed paying it forward had simply become a habit. Giving out a free beverage and even picking up a bill was just an everyday routine.

“It’s exponential now, you know? Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be … the planets align for somebody.” [said Oliver.]

The going may get tough, but the tough often bounce back — kind gestures are always welcome!

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L.A. Parking Meter Collects Charity Donations

Charity vending machines in Nottingham and Salt Lake are indubitably the beginning of a giving revolution. Now that consumers can donate food, clothing, and even cattle with the push of a button, the trend is taking flight in various other forms. Plagued by homelessness, Los Angeles is giving back to its transients via charity meters.

All six of the meters will be located in Downtown Los Angeles, and revenue will go toward the Skid Row-based C3 program, a cooperation between the city, county, and local service providers that provides outreach to homeless residents and helps them find housing.

Sure, parking meters aren’t a particularly welcoming machine, but the principle behind these ones is. Alongside cash donations, sponsors will also generate as much as $3,500 a year.

The meters look similar to ones already up-and-running in Pasadena: virtually identical to a run-of-the-mill parking meter, but colored bright orange and set back from the street to avoid confusion about their purpose. Donations can be made using both coins and credit cards.

The machines, sporting a bright yellow smiling emoji help donors avoid panhandling. With four more yet to rise across the city, hopefully other states catch onto the meter fever.

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NFL Athlete Anonymously Donates Bone Marrow

Athletes have a long history of charitable acts, donating medals and paychecks to those in need. While most have the means to make monetary pledges, others make more personal contributions. When local Kansas man Roy Coe grew sick with lymphoma, an anonymous NFL player donated bone marrow.

“That was a pretty good day,” he explained. “It was good to know that there was somebody out there.”

Doctors revealed only two years later that Coe’s donor was, in fact, a famous athlete. Though his identity will remain a secret to the public, Coe will soon get to meet his mystery savior.

“He probably saved my life,” Coe explained. “I owe him a big old ‘thank you’ for that.”

Not only did Coe go into remission — he got to witness a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl. I guess modern-day fairytales do come true.

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Portable Tents For Homeless Are Just Cardboard

For street-dwellers, a single blanket or free meal often goes a long way. What often makes the greatest impact is an occasional resting place, be it in a shelter or elsewhere. Still, this remains unlikely for most, but do-gooder Xavier Van der Stappen is revising that statistic. With the help of local factories, Van der Stappen designed portable origami tents for the homeless in Brussels.

“There are homeless people everywhere. When I saw them, it made me remember refugee camps in Africa,” said Van der Stappen, the man behind the ORIG-AMI project.

“It is a shame that in the 21st century there are still people living in streets in a very rich country like Belgium.”

The cardboard creations (ORIG-AMI), easy to dismantle, combat a ban against canvas tents and city camping. They will also provide temporary shelter to those rejected by overbooked hostels. Despite their early success, Van der Stappen continues to vie for a long-term solution to homelessness.

“I‘m not the person who is trying to solve it. I just try to find a solution for today, not for tomorrow,” he said.

For those not quite anticipating a tomorrow, ORIG-AMI makes a good contender for an interim home.

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The Chow Train Feeds Homeless Customers

In an age of pervading poverty, food titans do what they can to give back. In the absence of a refrigerator-mishap-gone-right, market chains usually distribute leftovers. But for a noble Texas couple, giving back is a full-time job. Joan Cheever and Dennis Quinn run The Chow Train, a food truck for the homeless.

“It started off as a family thing,” says Cheever, 60, a former journalist. “Then mothers of my friends’ kids started calling and saying, ‘Are you going to go out and serve people food? Can I send my kid over [to help]?’”

Since picking up in 2005, The Chow Train has served over 100,000 meals to needy customers. Recipes are spontaneous, depending on donations. While it can be worrisome, it makes for an exciting food adventure. The truck also caters to disaster sites, often with an extra serving of surprise goodies.

“Everyone who comes out on the Chow Train is a volunteer and they just feel wonderful afterwards,” [Cheever] says. “There are always going to be hungry people, and I think that we as a community need to do our part to help people.”

Paying it forward never ceases to put a smile on anyone’s face — and a satisfying lump in anyone’s stomach.

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Cult Party Game Takes On Income Inequality

While it isn’t everything, money can certainly get a person on their feet. When Kate McClure raised $227,000 for a homeless veteran, income inequality became more evident than ever. Now approaching it head-on, Cards Against Humanity gave $1,000 to 100 people in need.

“Giving 100 people $1,000 doesn’t fix wealth inequality,” the game’s website reads. “But we think these stories are a clear demonstration of how much $1,000 means to someone struggling to pay for basic necessities.”

The experiment called for 150,000 netizens to sign up, redistributing funds to the less economically fortunate. Testimonials claimed the money would go to anything from Christmas gifts to paying off student loans.

Most Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency, and one in five American households have zero or negative wealth,” Cards Against Humanity explains on its website.

To some, $1,000 may be just another paycheck. To others, it might mean the world.

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Wall Street VP Creates Non-Profit For Chemo Patients

Moderna’s personalized cancer vaccine may be a leap towards a cure, but the wait is long from over. Until then, a select few have been making life more comfortable for cancer sufferers. Zach Bolster, a former hedge fund vice president, is the founder of ChemoCars — a ride service for chemo patients.

“My family was shocked by how many cancer patients had difficulty getting to their chemotherapy treatments. We soon realized what a huge financial and family burden transportation during cancer treatments can be. Some patients resorted to riding the bus, others, unfortunately, missed their treatment altogether.”

Inspired by his late mother, a victim of pancreatic cancer, Bolster and his wife Patricia have offered over 2,000 free rides. Many users have become regulars, avoiding the hassle of buses and transportation expenses.

“ChemoCars gives patients a chance to do something for themselves. They rely so much on family that this means they can use family or friends for other things and – not for the daily chore of getting treatment,”  [nurse Pam Gwaltney says.]

Though business-minded, Bolster doesn’t see dollar signs on the horizon. ChemoCars has become a tribute to his mother and a symbol of hope for many.

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Kid Sells Xbox To Donate Blankets To Homeless

Too often, we underestimate the giving nature of children. But kids like Jayden Perez, who ran a toy drive for Puerto Rican youths, are what give Generation Z a good rep. Continuing the streak is 9-year-old Mikah Frye, who gave up his Xbox One to purchase blankets for the homeless.

“He knew what it was like to not have a blanket at night and have to give it back,” said his grandmother, Terry Brant. “So the first thing he wanted to do is give a blanket that they could keep.”

Clearly, it was firsthand experience that encouraged Mikah to donate blankets (60 of them) to the needy. Moved by the gesture, tech giant Microsoft made a donation of their own — to Mikah. The generous preteen scored a brand new Xbox, and deservedly so.

“It’s just amazing, it’s a blessing, Mikah is a blessing to our family and we thank you very much,” said Brant.

Giving back is never about the rewards that come in return. But this one sure is swanky!

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Market Chain To Donate Leftover Food To Needy

To accommodate a plethora of customers and increase sustainability, supermarkets across the globe have been making changes. From hosting seasonal “quiet hours” to selling perfectly edible expired products, chains are catering to various needs better than ever. Aiming to reduce both waste and poverty, Aldi is donating all its unsold fresh foods to underprivileged families.

“As Aldi stores will shut at 4pm on Christmas Eve until December 27, they will have a variety of good quality surplus food products that they will wish to redistribute in support of less fortunate individuals and to prevent food going to waste.” [the supermarket announced.]

To stay organized, Aldi is inviting local charities to collect the items for distribution. Each branch hopes to set out at least 20 to 30 crates of leftover food. So far, the initiative is gaining traction and supporters, all thanks to social media.

“Kudos to Aldi arranging for dispersal of unsold food on Christmas Eve to organisations helping those in need.  Let’s hope others follow suit. Well done.” [said a netizen.]

Talk about killing two birds with one stone — except maybe the stone is an apple.

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