Sunday, September 15, 2013

52 Acts of Random Kindness, Week 7

Some of this weeks items!
For my act of kindness this week, I decided to gather up some baby things I had laying around and take them to a local shelter where I knew they would be needed most.  At first I was quite undecided on which shelter I wanted to use.  I thought about a battered women's shelter, a home for pregnant teenage girls, and a myriad of other places where I thought there may be women and children in need.  In the end, a friend told me to look into a place called Our House.  Our House is a local shelter for the working homeless, either individuals or families, that offers a place to live, job training, education, childcare, and summer youth programs...among many other things.  It was established back in 1987 and has continued to grow, expanding its programs and offering a means for the Central Arkansas homeless to get back on their feet and become contributing members of the local community.  I could go on all day about the many things they provide, but it would be much easier to follow the link and discover in their own words all that they offer.  Needless to say, I was very impressed with their program, and I knew this was a organization I wanted to help out in my own small way.

Follow this link to check out their Facebook page!
Before deciding on going to Our House, I had gathered up my box of unused goods to be donated.  Within it I had some infant onesies and socks, a baby sling, all the size 1 diapers I had left (probably totalling somewhere just over 100), five infant swaddlers, six containers of formula, a bottle, one set of 0-3 month pacifiers, a couple pair of infant mittens, and an umbrella stroller which I had gotten for free earlier in the week for purchasing $50 worth of needed items for Piper at the local Babies R Us.

The formula, diapers, bottle, and pacifiers

The swaddlers

More diapers and the baby sling

The umbrella stroller

The onsies, socks, and mittens
All in all, it wasn't a huge amount of stuff, but it was all I had available to give at the moment.  Even though I know it isn't much, I do know that every little bit helps someone in need, and that there will be more stuff in the future as Piper outgrows things (think swings, bouncers, clothes, etc.).  Somewhere a less fortunate child or two will benefit from the items I do not need for myself and Piper.  Even though it was not much at this point, my thoughts about giving to Our House completely expanded once I talked with the gentleman who met me in the parking lot and accepted my donations.

A view of the shelter from where I was parked.
Take a tour of their programs HERE.
When I arrived on their grounds, there was a middle-aged black gentleman out by the guard house directing some of the children coming in from school to the building where the youth program was being held. He met me at my car and asked if he could help me.  I let him know who I was, why I was there, and gave him a card with my blog information on it.  I explained about my random acts of kindness, and he lit up with such great joy that I instantly knew this was a place for which I wanted to do more.  He even asked if I would be interested in coming back to speak to the residents and children there, and of course I gushed and said I would love to.  Once we were done unloading the goods I was donating, we talked a bit more.  Funny enough he knew my father's name from when my dad was back on the LRPD, which is not the first time someone has recognized my last name in association with my dad's time on the force.  Anyways, this man was so nice and beaming with pride for the work Our House was doing for the homeless in the community, that it was infectious and made me want to do more, too.

A rendering of the new children's center in the works.
Read more about it HERE!
After leaving, my brain kicked into gear about other ways I could help.  I have decided that once Piper gets a bit older and I can spend a little more time away from her without me freaking out, I am going to volunteer my time to helping their organization.  Some of the areas I'm looking into are in their child care center and/or education department.  Since I have worked as a preschool teacher in the past and have taught on the college level, I think I could be a real asset either working with the children or in adult education, or both.  I know it will really depend on their needs at the moment, but I definitely want to offer whichever of my skills they can use, that's for sure.

Here is another way to help, for those of you interested.

I also want to use my family's business to help.  I am already working on sponsoring a toy drive for this holiday season.  We were looking into being a Toys for Tots drop station, but I think we'd be better serving our own community, as we are a local family business in the area, by collecting toys for Our House instead. Both are wonderful programs, but I know Our House could probably use the help more.  I am working up a proposal come Monday to see how we can get this ball rolling.  I will offer up more details once everything is set in motion.  I am really excited about the project, and I've heard my enthusiasm can be quite contagious!  I think if we start things now, by Christmas we should be able to do something really special for the kids at the shelter.

Another great way to help!
So there you go, my good deed of the week has once again driven me to do even more.  I really do believe all this do-gooding is rubbing off on myself.  What started seven weeks ago as a simple bought lunch for a stranger, has turned into a compulsion to get involved in a much more meaningful way.  I highly recommend everyone out there try to do something of the same nature.  It honestly feels so wonderful to put smiles on people's faces.  One smile can start a chain reaction that may overtake you in unexpected ways.  I'm looking forward to continuing on my path of good deeds.  With each new week, no matter the deed, the experience gets more meaningful to me.  I can also tell that those around me are feeling the love, too.  One day I know Piper will also learn from all of this, and that is worth it's weight in gold!  I bet that after my 52 weeks are up I continue to give back, because now that the bug has bit me I think it will be impossible to stop.  For now though, I just look forward to what next week will bring, good things are definitely on the horizon!

Interested in donating to Our House?  Then follow this link to their donations page!

If you enjoy my blog, do me the act of kindness and take a moment to vote for me over at Top Baby Blogs by following the link below.  It's just takes two clicks and you're done.  You don't have to sign up for anything, or fill out any questions, just simply click the button and then the voting owl after that.  If you want to check my status once reaching the Top Baby Blogs page, simply scroll to the bottom of the first page, if I am not anywhere on that first page, then jump to page 2, as I have been hanging around the top of that page lately.

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Also, please feel free to come join me on my other social sites by following the links below.  For all things Piper all the time, I highly recommend at least joining us on Facebook, where I post daily.  Youtube is also good, as I'm becoming pretty regular at posting Piper videos there before they reach the blog.  If nothing else, have an awesome day and do something nice for someone around you, you'll be happy you did!

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This gift is why I give back!

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