An 11-year-old's birthday wish to show kindness to others

Jules Sanchez, center, and her friends hid containers of chalk and bubbles in the Play in Bay playground as part of a "random acts of kindness" themed birthday party.

“Let’s do random acts of kindness for my birthday party this year!” said, Jules, our eleven-year-old daughter, who immediately began to jot down ideas. I could hardly contain my pride!

So, on an October Saturday in Bay, we filled the neighbor’s van with Jules and her friends – Halle, Anna, Lilly, Kate, Kayla, Steffi and Grace – and set off on our journey. First stop: deliver pizza and muffins to Bay's police and fire stations (the girls even got a sneak peek of the new fire truck!).

Next, bring homemade vases with uplifting notes to The Village Project, a group that provides meals to area cancer patients (the girls were able to put their hand prints on the new facility’s wall, thanks to Executive Director, Barb Harrell). Now, off to pass out roses to residents at Westlake Village nursing home (lots of multi-generational smiles at that stop!).

Then on to ALDI supermarket to put quarters in their rental carts and give one of the employees, who's a new mom, two movie tickets for a well-deserved night out. Time to go to Play-in-Bay, where the girls strategically hid containers of chalk and bubbles throughout the playground (and of course, got to play), all while passing out helium balloons to random kids along the way.   

We then went to the laundromat to secretly leave detergent, dryer sheets and a bag of quarters. Next, drop off a cake to our parish priests at St. Raphael’s, and then post a "take a smile" sign on the Walgreen's bulletin board with smiley tabs for those in need of one.

Lastly, the girls wrote inspirational messages on the sidewalks and threw some pennies near their message to “make a wish.” As a bonus, the girls donated 36 books, 11 board games and two puzzles to a children’s shelter from their own collection.

In just under three hours, we were back home. With smiles on their faces and love in their hearts, the girls proved that kindness makes every day more beautiful. Those 11 acts may have been brief, but the feelings remained. No pre-made goodie bag would have been large enough to fit the love that was given and received that afternoon.

In sharing Jules’ story, I am hopeful that others will be inspired by her kindness, just as I was. Kindness, in any form, and at any age, makes a difference.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:16 AM, 11.12.2013