“Pay It Forward” Fever

Two friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan spent the month of March “paying it forward” (aka performing Random Acts of Rainbow) in fun and creative ways. Thankfully, CNN captured them on this video. I plan to borrow their idea of assembling care packages for homeless people. (On the way to work, I walk past about a half dozen homeless people asleep under a “deluxe” lighted and heated overpass and have been wanting to do something for them.) What’s your favorite “pay it forward” idea from this dynamic duo?

Fundred Dollar Bills

Looking for a fun and creative Random Act of Rainbow to perform this week? During his stop in New Orleans in “Craigslist Joe”, Joe Garner learned about Fundred Dollar Bill, a nationwide art project to help eliminate the devastating effects of lead-contaminated soil that places children at risk for severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

The goal is to collect 3 million Fundred Dollar Bills — hand-drawn interpretations of U.S. $100 bills created by people like you and me, using a template furnished by the project’s sponsors. The cumulative total of 300,000,000 Fundred Dollars represents the equivalent cost required to make safe every lead contaminated property in New Orleans, so that every child is protected. The Fundreds will be presented to the U.S. Congress with a request for an even exchange of the creative capital for real funding to make safe lead-polluted soils in New Orleans. The model will then be made available to other lead-polluted cites.

You can get a cool template for your Fundred Dollar Bills here. If you enjoy coloring books as much as I do (I’ve never outgrown them!), this project is made for you. When your Fundred Dollar Bills are completed, send them to:

The Fabric Workshop and Museum

a.k.a. The Philadelphia Fundred Mint

1214 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA  19107

Attn: Christine Roberts

christina@fabricworkshopandmuseum.org

The Fundred Dollar Bill project is continuing through the 2012-2013 school year.

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Happy Friday! Here’s a cute idea for a “Random Act of Rainbow” when you return a book to a library or a friend, or when you donate a book to a place like Open Books.

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I had to take my overdue books back to the library today so slid £5 into the middle of one of them for someone to find. Wrote a note explaining random act of kindness and invited them to spend it as they wanted. Hope it’s not too long before someone finds it!

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Hey, I Like Your Knees!

Usually by the time Friday rolls around, I feel exhausted from the work week and can’t wait to go home and collapse on the couch. What better day to focus on lifting other people’s spirits by giving them a sincere compliment? I find that elevators are a good place to compliment people because you have a few minutes to observe them and find something nice to say. If you’re running short on ideas in that regard, this video will inspire you.

The Handoff

The heat in Chicago this summer has been unbearable. So when I saw a man walking to work in a pinstripe suit in 88-degree weather at 8 AM, my eyes were drawn to him. I couldn’t help thinking, “Man, Mr. Pinstripes must be SO uncomfortable.” Then I saw him do something I’d never seen before.

It happened so fast that you would’ve missed it unless you were watching him. Mr. Pinstripes gave a bottle of water to a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. He just passed him the bottle with his right hand, without saying a word, and kept moving on. The homeless man didn’t say anything either, but the look on his face definitely said THANK YOU.

It was one of the most thoughtful things I’ve ever seen. Especially when it’s boiling outside, homeless people really need water. And unlike the rest of us, it’s not always easily accessible to them. I plan to take an extra bottle of water or two from meetings at work and share them with homeless people I walk past on the way home. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Pinstripes!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Steve Aman’s inspiration to give one of his kidneys to a stranger is a central tenet of Native American life called the Giveaway:

“‘If you have something you don’t use,’ he explains, ‘then you put it someplace where others can take it if they need it.’ Steve says his lifesaving deed was just that — a giveaway. As he sees it, he had an extra kidney and figured he’d drop it off in the community free box.”

Not many of us will make the choice that Aman and others profiled in Marc Barasch’s book Field Notes on The Compassionate Life did to give away a kidney while still alive and kicking. As Barasch explains, “Evolution, master of redundancy, has seen to it that you only really need one kidney, but if both of them go, you’re toast.” But within a matter of minutes, we can register to become an organ or tissue donor and provide a second chance of life to people once we’ve gone on to the next world.

In the U.S., you can register to be an organ and tissue donor by clicking here. You’ll need your driver’s license number to complete the process. By Googling the name of another country with the words “organ donation”, you can find similar online organ and tissue donor registration sites outside of the U.S.

In the words of Pete Dubrowitz, who received Aman’s kidney, “I gotta tell you: This is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Postcards From The Edge (Of Lake Michigan)

Postcards: the snail mail equivalent of texting. It doesn’t matter if they come from a vacation spot or your home town. Postcards are a quick, easy and fun way to let people know you’re thinking of them and to bring a smile to their day.

Having just moved a few blocks from Navy Pier, I find myself living in a tourist destination, complete with a souvenir shop down the block. Last night, I popped in and bought postcards to send to friends as a Random Act of Rainbow.

Is there someone you can surprise with a postcard today?

Turtle Time

One of the joys of life is getting your hair washed and head rubbed when you get your hair cut. That’s on my agenda for tomorrow and, after a stressful week of moving and settling in, I can’t wait! My moving stress pales in comparison to the daily demands of working in a hair salon, or doing any job that’s focused on customer service. So for my Random Act of Rainbow this week, I’m bringing gourmet turtles (made from caramel, cashews and white chocolate) to the women who cut and color my hair, along with cards letting them know I’m very happy to be their client.

Is there a customer-service person in your life who you can give an extra special “thank you” to (turtle or otherwise) this week?