American Bear Film – an adventure in the kindness of strangers

American Bear Film sticker

I stumbled across American Bear a few months ago and can’t wait to see their film at the end of this year. Sarah and Greg travelled the country for 60 days, relying on the kindness of strangers. They did a kickstarter campaign to raise the funds. Their belief: the power of the individual as the greatest resource for generating change in the world, starting with simple acts of kindness.

I’ve been in touch with Sarah and they really are great people, she kindly sent me some stickers from the US. I think I’ll create a little badge for my blog from it.

They have a lovely section on their site where you can email stories about kindness under ‘Your Voice’, they’re hoping to create a movement around acts of kindness, so get involved.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5yJtP4IFhU&feature=player_embedded]

Kindaware: Karen Klein bullying isn’t ok

When I was 15 a new girl, Tina, started at my school. She didn’t know anyone yet and was being bullied on the bus by a girl our age. Lydia was literally twice our height or maybe that’s just how it felt. I didn’t know Tina at the time but couldn’t stand listening to what Lydia and her gang of friends were saying, so I stepped in ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. Some may say it’s interfering but in my book bullying isn’t ok (no matter how subtle). Tina’s still one of my best friends and always will be.

This leads me into Kindness Girl who is one of my favourite bloggers (if not the favourite). If you read her blog you’ll see why straight away, pure inspiration. She’s recently posted about Karen Klein the hearing impaired Grandmother who was the bus monitor for the Greece School District in Greece, N.Y. She was viciously bullied by school kids. For a fuller round up the Huffington post have reported on it.

How the clip went viral is quite interesting. It was originally posted to the social news site Reddit, where it reached the front page reserved for the most up-voted stories.Reddit user razorsheldon created a call to arms in outrage about what happened and the support globally is touching to see.

The reaction has been similar to the London Riots, another Reddit user set up a donations page in support for Karen, which has generated $650,000. Southwest airlines even kindly offered to send Karen and 9 others to DisneyLand.

The Kony video received criticism for being too polished and sensational, now I’m not saying the Karen Klein video was orchestrated but it does make a great anti bullying campaign. Kindness Girl has created a campaign called ‘I Am Kind’ as a response, kindness can change everything right? If you’d like to join the ‘I am Kind’ Facebook page, you can here.

The message – be ‘Kindaware’.

Being kind isn’t cool?

Since I started my blog, I’m sure lots of people don’t fully understand the reason why.

I’m really enjoying the whole process and I want to explore kindness, particularly why being kind isn’t cool? Why is being kind often looked upon in a cynical way and why do I personally find it’s a bit embarrassing. It’s a shame.

This is a great round up by Seomoz – Being Nice Isn’t a Marketing Tactic. Or Is It? I think the same goes for personal giving too.

‘If the warm feeling you get from the favor itself (the intrinsic reward) isn’t enough, then you shouldn’t be taking action at all. The extrinsic reward – the link, or the tip, or the new customer – is gravy. If you can’t grasp that, stop.”

There’s often pressure living in London to go to ‘the’ club nights, restaurants and spend money wearing certain brands. What if Pay it Forward was a day-to-day occurrence that wasn’t so frowned upon and volunteering was a regular thing, that was on the curriculum at school, so it’s engrained in us.

I’m going to be calling on fellow bloggers for their help with ideas, for making being kind cool, can it be?  If you have any let me know emilydeg@gmail.com.

I’ll be carrying them out this year as an experiment really and to put my money where my mouth is. They’ll be under the umbrella idea of being ‘Kindaware’. Hopefully it will help me break the ice.