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Random Acts of Kindness: Ways to Pay It Forward

Kieron graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology.

Cleaning up your shared environment is a great way to show your care for others in your community.

Cleaning up your shared environment is a great way to show your care for others in your community.

Pay It Forward!

Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17) and Pay It Forward Day (the last Thursday of April) are unofficial holidays in which people are encouraged to do simple acts of kindness for their community, family, friends, and people in general. Ultimately, the thought behind each holiday is that one small good deed can leave a lasting positive effect on the rest of society and that the good deed can in turn lead to the spread of other good deeds throughout the world.

Although there are two specific days set aside to celebrate this concept, the idea of performing random acts of kindness is something that can be done on any day throughout the year. The acts are also something that can be done to help other people or society in general. The number of ways to help others is endless, but here is a list of acts of kindness and pay-it-forward ideas that can get you started.

Defining Kindness and Giving

According to Wikipedia, the definitions of "random acts of kindness" and "paying it forward" are as follows:

  • Random Acts of Kindness: A selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.
  • Pay It Forward: The concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it done to others instead.
  • If you live in the same area as your fellow coworkers or students, find a way to start carpooling in order to save gas and help the environment.
  • Start a recycling program at your home, business, or school. Take it a step further and donate any earnings received to a charity of your choice.
  • Help deliver food to people in need by joining a Meals on Wheels chapter in your area.
  • Prevent daily food waste by learning how to compost. As an added bonus, offer up some of your compost to neighbors during planting season.
  • Donate a few dollars to your alma mater (elementary school, high school, or college) as a way of showing appreciation for where you are today. Or, donate your time to help improve the campus at your alma mater.
  • Look into becoming a host family for a foreign exchange student.
  • If you enjoy raising children and can provide a stable home environment, become a foster parent/family.
  • Help keep your neighborhood safe from drugs and other crimes by starting a neighborhood watch program.
  • Tune in to Life Is Good Radio and take a moment to dance with the people you love the most.
  • Create a new journal documenting what good deeds you have done for others as well as what other people have done for you. Take it a step further by publishing the journal as a blog so others can learn from your experiences.
  • Take a class on grant writing at your local community college, and then use this new skill to assist local service organizations in securing new grant funding.
  • Sit down and find a cause you are passionate about. Find a friend who is passionate about the same thing, and then do something to help champion that cause!
  • If you have long hair, consider donating some of it after your haircut in order to make wigs for cancer patients.
  • Host a dance marathon for your next birthday party or special event and give part of the proceeds to the charity of your choice.
  • Continue to shop in smaller, local stores and spread the word about them around town.
  • Host a potluck food day at your job in order to build community among your coworkers.
  • If you are familiar with some of your neighbors, organize a block party to celebrate your community and bring your neighborhood closer together.
  • The next time you are going out on a weekend, offer to be the designated driver or volunteer to pay for the taxi ride home for your friends. Better yet, offer to pay for the taxi ride for someone you don't know.
  • Offer your job knowledge and expertise by becoming a mentor to a younger or less experienced employee at your job.
  • Make a blog post thanking everyone who has helped you get to where you are in life today.
  • Randomly send flowers to someone on a day that is not a holiday or birthday.
  • Spend quality time with your parents or grandparents, and ask them to share stories of experiences they had while growing up. If you have a chance, find a way to record these stories in audio or writing in order to preserve them.
  • If your family has spread out over time, find a way to organize a family reunion in order to bring everyone back together.
  • Strike up a conversation every day with someone that you do not already know.
  • Take a moment out of each day to smile at someone else.

Save the Dates

Although we should be making attempts at helping each other and doing acts of kindness each day, there are a few special days and weeks of celebration set aside for doing good deeds.

  • Random Acts of Kindness Day: February 17
  • Random Acts of Kindness Week: Second full week of February
  • Pay It Forward Day: Last Thursday in April
  • World Kindness Day: November 13

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.