Be A RAKtivist And Help Change Your Community


Published:

Did you think that headline was a misspelling? RAKtivist is short for Random Acts of Kindness activist. Think of RAKtivists like kindness ambassadors; like all ambassadors, they’re an active member of the community. The name was generated by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, whose main goal is making our world a better place for all. According to the Foundation, anyone who believes kindness can change the world, who reminds everyone around them how much love there is in the world, who inspires hope and generosity with their actions as much as their words — is a RAKtivist.

Scientific studies have shown that random acts of kindness are good for you! They improve your life satisfaction by increasing your sense of belonging and self-worth, and they improve your health by decreasing your anxiety, depression and blood pressure. Here’s the best part: According to the Foundation, these benefits apply to the giver of kindness, the recipient of kindness, and anyone who witnesses the act!  Every act improves the lives of at least three people.

If you’re like most people, you’re tired of all the negativity in the news, frustrated by the politics, and sad to hear about all the pain and suffering out there. We need to get back to the importance of being kind to others; to show that love is the strongest emotion in our hearts, and that kindness is the antidote to all the bad stuff. Our country during this past election has been assaulted by a lack of kindness and humility. The election cycle was devoid of both. Many individuals reported that they felt stressed, nervous and fearful and just wanted the election to end, and believe me, it does filter into the lives of our children, too.

Perhaps we need to start modeling kindness in the schools. Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness? The best way to promote kindness and caring behaviors in our classrooms is to model them. When we show students what it looks like and sounds like to be kind, there is a far greater chance they will repeat those modeled behaviors. It is so important to remember that children watch their teachers all the time and listen to everything they say. Essential caring behaviors and kindness are more often “caught” than they are “taught” in the classroom.

However, we don’t make children happy when we simply have them be receivers of kindness. In order to escalate their feelings of happiness, improve their well-being, reduce bullying, enrich their friendships, and build peace is by teaching them to be givers of kindness.

There are a number of studies that show the importance of engaging students in acts of kindness. One study showed that when students performed acts of kindness or took notice of the pleasant places they visited, their happiness quotient increased. However, those who performed acts of kindness received an extra boost. The study showed they gained an average of 1.5 friends during the month-long period — good support for the idea that nice guys finish first.

Like other studies, this research showed that being kind to other people benefits the giver. For children, it nurtures their well-being and increases their positive connections with peers.

When children learn to be caring and kind they also benefit developmentally. Well-liked children display more positive, less bullying behaviors when they become teenagers. Happier kids are more likely to show higher academic achievement. Being kind makes you feel good about yourself and improves your outlook on life.

In Worcester, through the 365Z Foundation there is an organization that encourages acts of kindness. This foundation started several years ago when Rosemary Ford was invited to be a guest lecturer at Quinsigamond Community College by Professor Paul LaCava in a course entitled “Death and Dying and its Effects on Families.” Mrs. Ford lost her son at the age of 20, and in the days and weeks following his passing, his family heard stories about how Zach, through his own acts of kindness, had made a positive, lasting impact on the lives of so many others. At the college seminar Mrs. Ford stated that in memory of her son she performed “acts of kindness every day.” 

Picking up on this concept, Professor LaCava started the 365 Foundation amongst friends and colleagues within the community to inspire everyone to bring more kindness into the world on a daily basis. The Z was added on in memory of Zach. The Foundation has information for teachers and administrators on how to help their students understand what it means to be kind in very creative ways. Many schools have embraced the concept and some have banners on kindness, kindness bracelets, and even kindness quotes for the day.  

Participating schools in Worcester include St. Peter’s Central Catholic, Venerini Academy, Union Hill School, Tatnuck Magnet, Nelson Place Elementary, City View School, Quinsigamond Elementary, Woodland Academy, Seven Hills Charter, Forest Grove Middle School, St. Peter Marian Jr/Sr High School, Claremont Jr/Sr High School, Doherty Memorial High School, Worcester Technical Vocational High School, South High School, North High School, and Burncoat High School. St. Anna’s School in Leominster also participates in the program. The schools all have varying degrees of implementing kind deeds within the school community.

Union Hill, where Mrs. Ford teaches the second grade, will expand their acts of kindness plans this year. One of the many ways they will celebrate and encourage student participation is by organizing monthly teacher lunches that give the students the opportunity to share a meal with their teacher as a reward for making positive choices. The school also has four celebrations after grades close for students from all grade levels who have exhibited the 365Z behavior. This year the school has started a 365Z Club after school program for 27 fifth and sixth graders. Those students will be doing community service projects in the Union Hill area.

Students who exhibit 365Z qualities do the following:

  • Are daily role models and exhibiting respect, acceptance, perseverance and responsibility
  • Are honest and show integrity
  • Behave in a caring, and kind manner toward others
  • Demonstrate gratitude and forgiveness toward others

Wouldn’t it be great if all schools worked on having their students exhibit those traits? Let’s all engage in daily acts of kindness!

John Monfredo, a retired principle of Belmont Community School in Worcester, MA, is an at-large member of the Worcester School Committee. He is a regular contributor to GoLocalWorcester.com from which this article is reprinted with permission of the author. John can be reached at Monfredoj@gmail.com.

See also:
How To Live In Interesting Times
How To Help Immigrant And Muslim Neighbors

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 15, 2017

This void of course Moon Friday is an interesting proposition. Much feels as though it is in limbo. Initiative is lacking. Mercury’s retrograde carries the winged communications whiz into a morning conjunction with Venus. The pair contribute to a…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2017

Free admission, 10%-20% discounts! Quality crystals, minerals and jewelry! We have an amazing display of merchandise for your viewing pleasure and purchase. We constantly add new items to our...

Where:
Cape Cod Center for Whole Health
116 State Road
Sagamore Beach, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Down to Earth Crystals and Minerals
Telephone: 508-680-6195
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Diane Lewis, psychic medium, for this very special holiday presentation. Be a part of this exciting evening as Diane connects to spirit, bridging the gap and gently bringing forth messages...

Cost: $40 per person

Where:
Hillcrest Country Club
325 Pleasant Street
Leicester, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Hillcrest Country Club
Telephone: 617-645-6415
Contact Name: Diane Lewis
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Beginning, Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 Clarity. Knowledge. Personal transformation. No matter what you’re looking to find more of, Kabbalah 1 is the first step in your lifelong journey of...

Cost: 8 Weeks, $49.95

Where:
WeWork
31 St. James Ave
Boston, MA  02116
View map »


Sponsor: Kabbalah Center
Telephone: 1.800.522.2252
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Do you find it a challenge to quiet your mind? In Raja Yoga the mind is described as the generator of thought that resides within the soul. It is the one thing we can control in life. We simply...

Cost: Free

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center & Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Telephone: 617-547-1110
Website »

More information

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season drain you! Come join us for a holiday healing meditation and Reiki session with Judy and Geri. This session will start off with...

Cost: $25

Where:
Holistic Wellness Center
18 North Meadows Road, Unit 12B
Medfield, MA   02052
View map »


Telephone: 508-359-7400
Website »

More information

Please join us at our monthly meetings, second Wednesday each month in Northboro, MA. Stay inspired and create collaborative professional relationships. A welcoming community working for the...

Where:
First Parish Unitarian Church Hall
40 Church Street
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is integrating into treatment plans. By...

Cost: $12-$17 per class

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Ceneter
176 Jackson Road
Devens, MA  01434
View map »


Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
Contact Name: Dave Crocker
Website »

More information

Join us in the Northeast Reiki Center classroom in Framingham for a Reiki Circle in the Usui Reiki System of Natural Healing. We are a gathering of Reiki practitioners and others interested in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher) This one-day class covers the basic principles of...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

2 Saturday 10:30AM classes to practice IPT Yoga at Sohum in Westborough, MA Want to practice yoga to relieve pain on the bottom of the foot? Integrated Positional Technique (IPT) for...

Cost: $30 per class prereg; $55 for both; $35 each at the door

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street
Suite 108b (next to hair salon)
Westborough, MA, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: PatLebauYoga
Telephone: 508-393-5581
Contact Name: Pat Lebau
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags