August 21, 2014

First Day of School Inspiration: Blossoming Community Heroes

There’s one word to describe how parents, guardians and heck, aunties and uncles (since I don’t have any kiddos myself) are feeling as another school year gets underway: "Nervouscited."

"Nervous" + "Excited" = "Nervouscited" nerves of yours. That’s how my sister Lynn Billett says my adorably sassy niece Serena describes this feeling as she started her first day of kindergarten this week.

As you wipe your tears and drop off your kids, I ask you one question. It’s a challenge and invitation. It seems this question is ubiquitous among my mommy and daddy friends: How do I raise GOOD, value-oriented kids? I’m sure you’re busy and bustling, but isn’t this the goal of all parentals?

That’s why Kala Shah, Marin Super Momma of three, and I created the Go Inspire Go Community Heroes program. Here’s a lovely blog she wrote about her experience as we embark on the third year of Community Heroes and a video about how one of the lessons on generosity blossomed!

--Toan Lam, Chief Inspirator



By Kala Shah

On Mondays when I host the Community Heroes lunch club at Sun Valley School in San Rafael, California, I usually get a tad nervous. As I open the library door and await the lunch bell, I hold my breath. Will anyone show up? If they do, can I continue to keep these kids interested? Am I indeed sowing the seeds of compassion or is this all just going in one ear and out the other?

To this point -- keeping fingers crossed this will continue -- my fears have been laid to rest when I see waves of adorable little people tearing across the school yard, clutching their lunch boxes, clamoring for the best seat in the room. Their smiles and enthusiasm melt my anxieties, give me courage and boost my energy. The 45 minutes seem to fly by.

Imagine having 25-45 kids sit on the floor in a crowded room, eat lunch, ask questions and have meaningful discussions and activities about serious community issues (and yes, while the parent facilitator concurrently helps open yogurts and tight Tupperware lids, directs crumb and spill clean-up, grants permission to go to the bathroom and breaks up little skirmishes over who gets to sit on the coveted Panda pillow/chair.)

One of my challenges is that the kids are so eager to DO something. Like right then and there. Around Valentine’s Day last year, I decided we needed to take some immediate real action during club hours, rather than just ponder the problems of the world and what we COULD (and plan to) do. The theme I chose? Small, random acts of kindness.

I had planned to pick up a couple of flower bouquets to demonstrate how little gestures can make a difference. When I stopped by Trader Joe’s, it occurred to me that they may be willing to help out a little. The store manager Sheila told me they normally donate their flowers to another organization, but that day she decided to help our cause. She came out of the back storeroom with a huge bag full of more than 30 beautiful bouquets. Ask and ye shall receive. I was completely overwhelmed by her generosity and utterly excited to show the kids this mountain of gorgeous and fragrant flowers!


And here’s how our kindness experiment went…love the reactions of the unsuspecting recipients!



We found that small, random acts of kindness can completely shift someone’s day. Doing something unexpected and nice for someone else is a simple gift we could all give. The kids discovered they felt so much joy in return and it's something they begged to do again for Valentine's Day this year. We should all try to do a little something kind and spontaneous more often! It’s so easy and you never know what you may inspire in others.




Take Action:

1. Share this blog & video with your community/kids.

2. Do one kind thing for someone today and use #goinspirego to let us know what you did.

3. Start your own Community Heroes Club: www.goinspirego.com/communityheroes

Follow us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Join our movement & Go Inspire Go…

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