Kindness Conversations: My Story

Who or what inspires you to be kind?
Ever since I moved to Portland, I developed a volunteer mindset. There’s a great website- Hands On Greater Portland– that connects interested people to organizations who are in need of volunteers. It’s very helpful and convenient because sometimes people don’t volunteer not because they don’t want to but they don’t know where to start. Hands On helps with that. Plus, there’s no commitment except to show up for that one time you signed up for.

I’ve met so many incredible people who have inspired me to be kind. There was a family of four who made it a point to volunteer at every state they visited. There was a woman who dedicated ten percent of her time for a year to helping others. Another woman vowed to volunteer once a week for a year to discover the “nature of the servant.” A dad decided to give his time to try and make a difference in the world after opening presents one Christmas.

I feel fortunate to have known so many kind-minded people.

How do you practice kindness in your life?
I volunteer. Over the years, I’ve created multiple challenges to make it more fun- like volunteering with as many organizations as I can or trying to reach a certain number of volunteer hours in a year. I’ve also tried to cut back since it does get exhausting and overwhelming. I’ve tried to focus on a handful of organizations I feel particularly passionate about and to step up my game in what I do with them.

I feel I could definitely do more. I find myself inspired by stories of kindness but when confronted with people who could use a bit of kindness or compassion from, I usually end up distancing myself from them or set up a wall around me.

What charities and organizations do you support and why?
One of my Core Goals or Values in life is to support literacy especially in children’s lives. Volunteering with the Multnomah County Library (mainly in their Every Child initiative) and the Friends of the Library and the Children’s Book Bank fulfills that. I’m also part of the Alberta Main Street Promotions Committee because it’s great to support the neighborhood where I work in. It helps foster a sense of community. Other organizations I support are American Red Cross (because I have good blood to give so why not) and Donors Choose (because education is important.)

Share a story in which you’ve experienced or witnessed an act of kindness that has left an impression on you.
When I first moved to Portland, a city in where I hadn’t been to before and didn’t know anyone, I usually hung out in the lobby of the building where I was staying at. I usually had a book with me. I could have read in my room but I liked watching the people come and go. One evening, a lady and her kid came in with their many bags. It sounded like the people they were staying with who lived in the building wasn’t there and wouldn’t be for awhile. (They got their messages mixed up.) Another resident offered to let them wait in their apartment. I loved seeing that willingness to open up their place to complete strangers.

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What’s your Kindness Story? Join in on the conversation!

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