By Christine Baker
Nyack, NY, USA
Christine Baker and Jessie
I read a quote many years ago that stuck with me. It said:
“What this world needs is a new kind of army - the army of the kind.”
– Cleveland Armory
For many years, I was fascinated with the concept of an army of kindness-driven individuals who could be mobilized at a moment’s notice to get out there and change things for the better.
My grandfather used to say all the time:
“If it is meant to be, then go ahead and make it happen.”
I always loved his philosophy because it inferred that we have to work to make things happen, instead of waiting or hoping for things to change.
My dream to launch Walk4Good took many years before it became a reality. But I held firm to the idea and the hope, and I took steps along the way to ensure my dream would come true.
Here’s the beautiful part: Walk4Good is no longer only about me, or my dream. To date, we have almost 600 dedications. (Our goal is 2,180.) Nearly 600 people have enlisted in our Army of the Kind. Our mission to empower and inspire kindness has touched them. We have become a community, a family of kindness-driven people (and animals).
We’ve visited high schools and colleges and have been absolutely blown away by the response we’ve received. Young people not only get what we’re about, they enthusiastically embrace it.
Yvette Newborn is a teacher at North Rockland High School. Jessie and I made a presentation there on December 9, 2011. Yvette recently told me, “After your presentation, several students began reporting acts of kindness to us. My students were excited about sharing how they were kind to family members, friends and strangers. They are learning that is fun to recognize the positive things people do daily.”
Here are 10 acts of kindness that came as a direct result of our presentation to North Rockland High School:
- A student volunteered to help set up audio-visual equipment in class.
- A husband brought lunch to his wife at school.
- A gentleman held the door as the teacher entered the building.
- A student escorted a new person around school.
- Students spent the weekend caroling at Helen Hayes Hospital.
- A student gave a homeless person $5.00.
- Gifts were donated to People To People, a non-profit in Haverstraw, NY.
- A compliment was shared with a stranger.
- Students made sure a family member was driven home.
- A student helped a neighbor carry a television up a flight of stairs.
Another notable act of kindness was from a young woman named Danielle who lost her mother to a sudden aneurism. She made a dedication on Walk4Good and promised to help children in honor of her mother, Mimi, who loved children so very much. Danielle began a program called Mimi’s Heart, a charity with the purpose of improving the quality of life for children living with either anxiety or birth defects. Because, as her mother would say, “All children are born perfect and it’s our role as adults to show them.”
This is the core of what Walk4Good is all about. Walk4Good isn’t creating anything new. We are merely connecting people in goodness rather than violence and hatred. We are choosing to walk together to spread kindness. Walk4Good reminds us all of our common humanity, and our absolute responsibility to walk always with our arms outstretched and our hearts wide open. It is about doing the little things as well as the big things that make other people’s lives better. It is about inspiring kindness and reminding us all that we are made up more of goodness than callousness.
I am so inspired by Walk4Good and the acts of kindness we are spawning in people. Now I know this was exactly what my grandfather meant. I also know that my grandfather is looking down on me today with a smile on his face.
Christine Baker is the founder of Walk4Good and president of CB Creative, Inc., an integrated communications consulting firm in Nyack, NY. She is the author of Why She Plays: The World of Women's Basketball (University of Nebraska Press 2008), and was inducted into the Middletown, Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in January 2011.