Week #64 – Four Weeks to Happyness: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
(Happyness in Action — with Kindness for Christopher)
Greetings Happyness Tribe — and Happy December!
Thanks to all who headed out to the Chatterbox in August, NJ last weekend. Amy Wood-Oblen reported they collected 40-50 gifts (and raised over $380 in cash to buy even more) at their Monster Trucks for Toys Event — and that was just on Saturday! (You can read more about that at Week #63.)
And…our very own 50-for-50 Virtual Toy Drive continues for the month of December. You choose your gift and your location. Just let us know what you donated and where…and maybe even post a photo! I’ll tally up the info and post a running total each week, with a grand total at the end of the month! (As of today, we are already a half-dozen gifts in!)
Today we are celebrating our third nomination for Happyness in Action: The D’Amico family of Mount Arlington, NJ — for creating the Kindness for Christopher movement after their 10-year-old son died in a boating accident just five short months ago. Kindness for Christopher encourages everyone to practice a random act of kindness on the 24th of every month (Christopher’s angel date). It has since gone international — collecting nearly 9,000 likes on its Facebook page and was recently featured on Fox News and in other major media outlets!
Laura D’Amico, Christopher’s mom, was kind enough to share with me the details of how this all got started…and what keeps her going only five months later.
“A friend of ours knew that Christopher was a one-of-a-kind kid. We started doing things in his name. We wanted to honor him, and his kindness.”
A month after the accident, the D’Amicos were out-of-town and looking to do an act of kindness in honor of Christopher on that significant date.
“It was July 24th, a month after Christopher died. We were in a restaurant and saw a mom come in to order food for her family. She had a boy with her around our son’s age, so we looked in her direction. She was agitated and yelling. We looked at each other and said, let’s pay for their dinner tonight.” The D’Amico family did just that — and told the woman why. “She was having a bad day, her kid was getting on her nerves and our act of kindness made her stop, take a deep breath, and realize what she had and what we didn’t.”
The D’Amicos continued the tradition. They chose the 24th of each month as Kindness for Christopher Day to honor their son, rather than dwell on the tragic accident that happened. “It made people uncomfortable talking about the accident and that our son was gone, but it made them smile and want to do kind things in his memory. That was cool and it was catching on.”
They launched a Facebook page — and started getting the word out. Since then, there have been food drives, memorial concerts, donations collected for people in need — and countless random acts of kindness on Christopher’s behalf on the 24th of every month.
“Our son will pop an idea in our heads and we will go with it.”
Most recently…that includes a pajama drive to benefit children in local hospitals. The D’Amicos aim to collect 1,000 pairs of pajamas to be delivered just before Christmas. The drive runs through December 10th — and to date, they are well on their way. “Our son wore pajama pants more than anyone…they made him comfortable and happy. For children in the hospital, why not make them a little more comfy and happy while they are in a not so fun place?”
Granted…grief is a not-so-fun place, too. I asked Laura what inspires her to continue to follow through, even when it’s tough. “We have helped and touched so many people since this has happened to us. It is showing people that everything is going to be ok. It’s hard not having him here but almost feels like a part of him is still here with kindness.” Making other people smile, even if it’s just for a moment, brings them happiness.
“The hardest part is not having our son with us to see what an impact he has made. We have to believe that he is somewhere watching this incredible movement.”
So what about you Happyness Tribe? Are you ready to help spread some kindness?!
Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS!!! Do something kind for someone this week. It doesn’t have to cost money…it could be a kind word, holding the door open, picking something up for someone. Better yet — do one thing a day to make someone smile! Kindness for Christopher suggests 24 to 24 — 24 Days to Kindness starting on December 1st and leading up to the 24th, which is Christmas Eve. (And Megan Sheakoski at Coffee Cups and Crayons gave me permission to link you to her free printable advent calendar to count down 24 Days of Kindness starting on December 1st. Check it out here!)
“Be kind…it doesn’t cost a dime and it makes you feel great too!”
Spread Happyness — Spread Kindness! Practice RAK’s this week — or all month long! And tell us about in the comments!
12/4/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
(PS: Special thanks to Laura D’Amico for taking the time to share her story! To learn more about Kindness for Christopher, the Pajama Drive, or to share your Kindness for Christopher stories: visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/Kindness for ChristopherD)
50 for #50 Toy Drive Update (AS OF 12/12/15):
1. A football, Hot Wheels set, Loom activity set, 500-piece puzzle, toy construction vehicle, mini construction vehicle set, and a tea party set were donated to Toys for Tots.
2. Lego Friends toy donated at Turtleback Zoo Toy Drive.
3. Donation was made to Teterboro Animal Shelter
4. Donation was made to Endometriosis Foundation of America
Keep ’em coming!!!