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Random Acts of Kindness: Is There A Place for That?

What if there was a place where you could log your acts of kindness and celebrate every good deed? Sound unlikely? Thanks to Everyday Kindness, now you can.

Everyday Kindness believes that “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. It’s in this spirit that Keenan, the largest privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm in California has led the creation of the Everyday Kindness platform with support from other sponsors.

“This initiative was the response to a challenge that the mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait, along with the Anaheim Elementary School District presented to their schools. He wanted to see a better world and recognized that for change to happen, we needed to start with children”, said Charlotte Doepker, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Keenan. “The idea caught the attention of the Dalai Lama who encouraged Tom to spread this movement.”

Is There A Place for That?

The idea was baked and the target was set: a million acts of kindness. But there was no place to see, count and celebrate all the good deeds a community has done…until Everyday Kindness, a web-based platform that captures acts of kindness.

At the time of writing this blog, this online application has participants from 91 California schools that have logged over 25,500 acts, and growing. The website tracks acts by school district, school site and even by classroom. And although the movement started in schools, acts of kindness can be counted in any organization – cities are the latest to join the movement.

“What’s so amazing about this project is how it came about and how everyone was thinking outside of the box on how to create it, but use tools and distribution models we already had to come up with something completely different”, said Charlotte with excitement.

A Place on the Web That Helps Do “Sustainable Good”

“We aligned our goal to what schools want to do: create positive behaviors. Then we flipped our approach. Instead of discouraging and tracking bad behaviors, we wanted to encourage and track kindness”, continues Charlotte. “And this app allows schools to not only create good behaviors but also quantify them through dashboards and reports. Our hope is that the data they can now collect will also help in their school climate and PBIS initiatives.”

While the team would love to be able to tie these acts to reductions in bullying, suspensions and other wrongdoings, the tool is not there yet.

“The platform has a gamification component both online and in the classroom. Teachers can use these acts to create camaraderie among students and reward them. They can also print out posters and display them in the classroom to reinforce the expected behaviors in a way that’s always visible.”

The benefits of this platform go beyond individual schools and classrooms. Schools will soon be able to learn best practices from each other and work collectively to embrace the spirit of kindness.

An Online Tool That Fits Your Needs

Each school district has its own culture and it was important to create something that was flexible. They may use this app as is, enhance their own programs with it and even white label it.

“The reason why this program works is because it fits into their school culture, their vision and their goals”, states Charlotte. “If you’re trying to do something that’s not authentic to you, it can distract you too much.”

It Takes Kindness to Create Kindness

When I asked Charlotte why Keenan chose to lead this project, her answer was simple: “The main reason it was built is because of our CEO and his passion for this project.”

As you have probably guessed, Keenan’s culture is also based on kindness. Keenan recognizes that their charter is not just about selling insurance and brokerage services to schools. It’s about creating a safe environment for kids, teachers and employees so they can have better, healthier lives. Insurance services and products are just one step on the road towards creating that safe environment. Kindness is another step.

As Charlotte put it: “find your purpose and be innovative in what you do. Know what it is that you do well, who you are serving, and think about how you can leverage that in a different way – that’s how you can make your efforts sustainable.”

Keenan leads by example. But it’s no surprise from a firm whose motto is to “What you do makes a difference”. They have opted to do charity-related activities with their booth visitors at trade shows, such as making toiletry kits for the homeless, and wrapping books and stuffing bears to be delivered to shelters. They have instituted a day of company service, known as Impact Day, to paint murals and build bikes among other things. And they launched their employee volunteer program a year ago, which gives time off to employees for volunteering. All in the spirit of making their own environment kinder.

Can you imagine your company logging and celebrating acts of everyday kindness? A work environment in which people are happy and supportive of each other, and rude behavior and intentional wrongdoings are non-existent? I think we can all use a little more kindness in our lives. So let’s start counting!

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