Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 121: Nominated My Wife For Teacher of the Month

As I have said on countless occasions, I am so proud and in awe of the job that my wife does on a day in and day out basis as a teacher at Erie Charter School.  I see the hours that she pours in after work and on the weekends to ensure that her students receive the best education possible.  She is always in search of new methods and ways to connect with the children to make sure that they don't become statistics of an inner city education system.  I have gone to her classroom and seen first hand the impact that she has on these kids, and the respect and admiration that they have for her.  She provides such a structured and dynamic environment, that schoolwork and learning become second nature to her students.  In addition to her continuous effort, she works at an institution that is also committed to churning out students that aren't just prepared for high school, but for college and beyond.  Although I have done different things to show her just how much I respect the job that she does, I always felt that there was a way that I could do more.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I have nominated my wife for WGN's Teacher of the Month contest.  Even if she doesn't get selected, I know in my heart that she is the Teacher of the Month every month of the year.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 120: Participated in Misericordia Candy Days

Today I am posting a random act of kindness that took place yesterday.  I had it planned for a couple of weeks, but when the opportunity arose to send Myrna to the Bulls game, I knew I had to leap at it.  Although I am posting a random act from yesterday, I will be doing a few random acts of kindness for my wife just as an "I Love You" to her (and so that I don't miss a day). 

Every year here in Chicago in April, you will notice volunteers at stop lights and street corners in bright white smocks asking for a donation in exchange for Jelly Belly jelly beans.  They are there to raise money for Misericordia, which previously I had no idea what it was and just wanted some Jelly Bellys.  Misericordia is a 31-acre campus here in Chicago that offers a community of care for over 600 adults and children with mild to profound developmental and physical disabilities.  They have incredible programs ranging from on-campus art, baking and fitness programs to community employment to physical therapy.  They are doing such great work to ensure that, regardless of any sort of disability, every single person has the chance to be a meaningful member of the community.

After a few emails and phone calls, I was able to track down Sharon Keane, one of the residential directors for Misericordia.  I let her know that I wanted to volunteer to be one of the Candy Days volunteers and she was very welcoming.  So, today (yesterday?) for my random act of kindness, I braved the surprisingly freezing temperatures, and collected money on the street corners for Misericordia.  For the first 15 minutes, I really had no luck.  Then a high school lacrosse team walked by and each one gave money to the cause.  At that point, the money started to pour in.  There were some people that even threw $10s and $20s in the can.  My friend Brian even stopped by to donate prior to going to watch the Bulls destroy the 76ers as predicted (Get Well Soon Derrick Rose).  It was a fun random act and I was able to meet some great people.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 119: Rewarded/Thanked Someone For Kindness

Since Pay It Forward Day was earlier this week, and I had a random act based on Paying It Forward, I have been thinking about how I can show appreciation for people who have helped me with acts in the past.  During the first month of this journey, I received a message from a woman named Myrna Mendoza.  Myrna, in an effort to honor the past kindness of her late mother, donated food and mylar blankets for me to give to the homeless.  It was a completely selfless act that blew me away.  Since that day, I have been wanting to do something for Myrna, but have been waiting for the right opportunity to reward her for her kindness. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am thanking/rewarding a wonderful woman for her kindness.

Last night, I received a text from my friend Jared saying that I needed to call his mother ASAP in regards to random acts.  I gave her a call where she mentioned that she had been discussing 366 Random Acts at dinner with friends.  One of the friends, Mark, works at the United Center, and after hearing about the mission, wanted to donate 2 tickets to today's Chicago Bulls playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers.  I knew right then that this was my opportunity to thank Myrna for her selflessness.  I texted Myrna asking if she would be interested in attending, and after being shocked by the text, she said that she would, but that she needed to find someone to go with.  I figured this would be a simple task as I am sure any of her friends would leap at the opportunity to go.  However, in her typical fashion, Myrna had other ideas.  Myrna reached out to one of her friends whose son is a gigantic Bulls fan, but has never had the chance to go to a Bulls game.  So of course, Myrna continued her kind ways and is going to take him to today's Bulls game.  The Bulls are going to be throttling the trash talking Evan Turner and the 76ers, while he and Myrna see it first hand!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 118: Planted A Memory Tree

 Here in the United States, today is Arbor Day.  Arbor Day is a national holiday in which people are encouraged to plant or care for trees as a way to improve the environment.  All around the country (and on other dates, around the world), people take the opportunity to make a positive change by joining groups committed to planting or replanting different types of trees.  Another tradition made possible by the National Arbor Day Foundation, is the ability to plant trees in national forests in honor or remembrance of someone. 

My wife grew up in Los Gatos, California in a house nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The Santa Cruz Mountains are a sprawling forest home to enormous Redwood trees, lush moss, and wildlife like mule deer, foxes, and bobcats (the mountains are also home to the winery where I proposed to my Lindsey).  Once my wife and her brothers moved away from home, my in-laws moved to Corvallis, Montana which is a cozy little community nestled between the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountains.  It is everything you imagine when thinking about the most serene, natural place possible.  From spending time with my wife's family, I know how much they love both of these places, and how much they love nature overall (my father-in-law especially did).  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am "planting" 10 native pine, fir, and cedar trees in memory of my father-in-law, John Bascom, in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California.  If you would like to plant a tree in someone's honor, you can at the National Arbor Day website

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 117: Paid Everything Forward

Today is International Pay It Forward Day.  Pay It Forward Day is now recognized and celebrated in 50 countries, so just think of the impact small acts can have on a global scale.  Since the whole mission of 366 Random Acts revolves around creating a chain of kindness, I figured it was important to have a day dedicated to highlight the actual act of "paying it forward."  Maybe I am more aware of random kindness because of what I am doing, but I feel like I have been seeing more and more people being kind to one another on a daily basis.  Typically, I just give a quick smile and let it pass.  That changes today.  For my random act of kindness, I am going to pay any random act of kindness done to others or myself forward.  Whether it is holding the door for someone, allowing a car to pass, or making your wife's lunch for the next day (this one is for you Linds), I am going to make sure to emulate what people do and do unto others.  I ask that everyone in the 366 Random Acts community do the same, even if just for today.  If someone does a kind gesture towards you, be sure to do one to someone else.  If you witness a kind act, at a minimum, commend the person performing it.  We WILL have an impact and we WILL make the world a better place for our kids, our kids' kids, and even a random strangers kids.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 116: Donated Wire Hangers

At least twice a month, I visit my local dry cleaner and drop off my suits, shirts, pants, etc.  Each time that I do this, they return them to me with the thin wire hangers that I am sure every dry cleaner on Earth uses (every dry cleaner also uses these pictures).  Over the course of the past 6 years (I used to wash "Dry Clean Only" clothes before meeting my wife), I have been able to compile a collection of wire hangers the likes of which would make Mommy Dearest up there lose her mind.  I have been wondering what I could do with all of the hangers, and my wife recently gave me an idea that I could tie in to my random acts.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I will be donating my impressive collection of wire hangers to Goodwill and The Salvation Army.  Both of those organizations accept donations of hangers for the clothes that they sell in their retail stores.  So if you have an overabundance of wire hangers in your house like I do, it is an easy thing to send them over and help Goodwill and The Salvation army so that they can spend their money on other, more important things.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 115: Volunteered at Jokes4Miles Joke-A-Thon

I alluded to this on Sunday when I sent out electronic flyers for this event on Sunday, so I will keep this brief.  Starting at 3PM this afternoon at The Laugh Factory (in both Chicago and LA), Len Austrevich and Jokes4Miles will be hosting a Joke-A-Thon to try to get as many people as possible to tell jokes for Miles.  Miles is preparing to go into isolation for 3 months as part of his cancer treatment.  Tonight, for my random act of kindness, I will be lending a hand to Len to help with the event.  If you are in the Lakeview area of Chicago or in LA, please stop by to tell a joke, sing a song, or just wish Miles well.  If you are unable to, please stop by the website to upload a joke from your iPhone or any other camera you may have. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 114: Cup of Joe for a Joe

Today was a struggle for me to get going.  I couldn't get out of bed quickly, and was plodding around the house completely tired.  My wife had to get to work early so she was pushing me to get moving.  I was able to finally get ready but almost fell asleep in the car on the way to her work.  It wasn't until I had my first cup of coffee that I finally started to function like a normal adult.  I never really drank coffee before Isla was born, but have started drinking it almost daily now.  I kind of take it for granted that my wife will always have a cup of coffee waiting for me in the morning. 

Recently, I was emailed a suggestion for a random act and since my morning pretty much depended on me getting coffee into my system, I figured today was as good as any to do it.  Green Beans Coffee runs a program called Cup of Joe for A Joe where you are able to purchase a cup of coffee for soldiers stationed overseas.  In addition to the cup of coffee, you are able to write a letter to whomever receives the coffee.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to purchase a cup of Joe for a Joe (or Jane) and write some words of encouragement.  A cup of coffee can not only provide the soldiers with some added caffeine to stay on their toes, but can also provide them with a semblance of the comforts of home. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 113: Posted Flyers (Electronically)

A little while after Day 8, I had the opportunity to meet Len Austrevich and his son Miles.  For those that are new to the blog, Len has launched a campaign called Jokes 4 Miles.  He is trying to get 5,000 people to tell his son a joke in an effort to help fight cancer through humor.  So far, there have been hundreds of jokes told on the site by such big names as Jay Leno, Bill Murray, Ernie Banks, Amy Poehler, and Ryan Garcia.  (haha)  Although there have been a bunch of jokes told, Len still needs more.  The reason being is that Miles is headed to Los Angeles in a week for a new treatment for his cancer that will leave him in isolation anywhere from 3-6 months.  During this time, Len was hoping that Miles would be able to view the jokes from his new friends around the world.  With the help of The Laugh Factory (both the Chicago and LA locations), Len is hosting a 30-Hour Joke-A-Thon where anyone can stop by and tell a joke to Miles.  I will be volunteering at the Joke-A-Thon for Day 115 (sorry to spoil the surprise) and I ask that is anyone is near those locations, please stop by and tell a joke.  (If not, it is super easy to record and post here!)  In the mean time however, for today's random act of kindness, I am using this forum, Facebook, and Twitter to virtually post flyers with the details of the event. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 112: Supported Artistic Teens

This year is the 20th anniversary of the inception of the After School Matters program here in Chicago.  The mission of After School Matters is to provide Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond through artistic, athletic, scientific, technological, and journalistic programs.  Today, the artistic part of the program, Gallery 37, held a day where they showed off art in many different genres.  After being invited by my friend Emily (who does incredible work with the kids), I decided that today, for my random act of kindness I would support these impressive artistic teenagers.  I was blown away by how incredible these kids were both from a personality standpoint and by their creativity.  From photography to painting to culinary art to performance art, these kids excelled at so many different things.  I have been to art shows near our home in Chicago, but they aren't even remotely near the same level as what I saw today.  Below is a snippet of some of the photos that I took during my day. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 111: Adopted An Emperor Penguin Chick

One of the first movies my wife and I saw together in the theater was Happy Feet.  We saw it in an IMAX dome and almost had to leave because my wife became nauseous and on the brink of vomiting.  Luckily, she bucked up and we were able to sit through the entire movie.  Even though it was an animated film, the baby emperor penguins immediately became my favorite animal.  I know they can't sing and dance in real life, but I have made it one of my life goals to see these penguin chicks in person hopefully in their natural environment.   Sadly, I may not have the opportunity to do that because, due to global warming, emperor penguins may soon find themselves on the endangered species list.  I want to do my part to ensure that these cute little guys are taken care of, so for today's random act of kindness, I adopted an emperor penguin chick through the World Wildlife Foundation.  While I wish one could be delivered to my house (I would build an igloo in my living room if need be), I am perfectly fine doing my part to help them maintain their cuteness in the wild.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 110: Donated Cook Books to the Library

My wife is one of the best amateur chefs around. I am not exaggerating. She doesn't just make easy things either. She makes full on gourmet dishes which is incredible seeing as how she has a full-time job and we now have a daughter to care for. One of my goals in life is to open a small cafe for her to show off her culinary skills so that others can experience the deliciousness that I get on a daily basis. Before meeting her, I had no idea what Fleur De Sel, Creme Fraiche, and ramps were. She has been able to build her skills because of the fact that she has read countless cook books, cooking websites, cooking magazines, and watched countless hours of the food network. Because she has been able to build all of this culinary knowledge, we currently have an overabundance of cook books and magazines. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am donating a number of books and magazines to the Chicago Public Library. Maybe through this act, some future celebrity chefs will get their starts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 109: Paid Someone's Parking Meter

Since I began soliciting suggestions from people as to what I should do for random acts of kindness, there has been one that has been suggested far more than any others: paying for someone's parking meter. Unfortunately, the city of Chicago only has parking meter machines where you have to put the parking receipt on the car's dashboard. While I would love to go around paying for people's parking, I lack the ability to use a coat hanger to bust into a car to place the receipt there. I figured the year would go by and I would be unable to fulfill this request, but today, an opportunity just arose to do it. While going to pay for my own parking, a person ahead of me seemed to be having trouble with the machine. He didn't have any quarters or a debit card on him, and was trying to pay with nickels and dimes. I tapped him on the shoulder and explained how the machines work (and how terribly expensive they are) and offered to pay for his parking. He accepted and for today's random act of kindness, I was able to FINALLY pay for someone's parking meter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 108: Purchased A Teddy Bear

Yesterday's post dealt with the pain of having a child kidnapped. Today's post also deals with the pain of losing a child. I apologize for having back to back days of such sad posts, but I was really affected by reading about a group of people looking to help families cope with the sadness of losing a baby. Since 2004, The Angel Teddy Bear Foundation has delivered teddy bears to parents in NICU who suffered the loss of a stillborn child, miscarriage or any other neonatal loss. Their goal is to help grieving parents, and to make it so that no mother or father has to leave the hospital empty handed. It is a small token, but one that I believe goes a long way with helping parents cope. So today, for my random act of kindness, I purchased one of the teddy bears to be donated to parents.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 107: Tried To Help Find Missing Children

As my wife and I took our daughter for a walk yesterday, I saw a "Missing" poster on the ground. It was a picture of a young girl who had been missing for over 2 weeks. It really affected me because I started thinking about my daughter, and the fact that I would probably lose my mind if she was ever taken from me. I couldn't imagine having to go through the pain of having my daughter kidnapped or even worse outcomes that I would rather not think about/type. Over 2,000 children are reported missing every single day here in the United States, which is a staggering number to think about. I would hope that everyone around me, and even strangers would do whatever it takes to ensure that my daughter was returned to me safely. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to use this forum to try to spread the word on missing children here in Illinois. Please visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and see if you recognize any faces, share the link on your Facebook and Twitter, and try to do what you can to see that these children make it home safely. Social media can play a huge role in helping others, so let's see what we can do!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 106: A Day Off The Grid

I am on my phone or computer 25 hours a day. Usually it is for work, but many times I find myself using technology just to pass time looking up song lyrics, movie spoilers or Odibe McDowell's batting average for the 1987 Texas Rangers. I am also guilty of texting my friends even though my wife is sitting right next to me. This is just insane. I know I have to make an effort to put down the phone and really cherish the free time I have with my wife and daughter. So this post is going to be short and sweet because once I finish it, I am not going to be using my cell phone or computer (and very little tv) for the entire day for my random act of kindness. I am going to go off the grid, and no one will be able to find me (unless you know my address, in which case, I might not be home). We are, as a family, going to go for a walk, do some shopping, maybe Bed Bath & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time. A pretty nice little Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 105: Donated to the Blind Service Association Youth Program

Today, while walking with my wife to the grocery store (It was just us. We left our daughter home with a full bowl of food and water. You can do that at 7 months. Parenting 101.) we ran into a couple of people on the street who were looking to raise money. Before starting this journey, I was as guilty as anyone of just bypassing those who were out with cans trying to collect money for different programs. Now, I am more cognizant of the sacrifice some people do in giving up their weekends to raise money for something they believe in. I stopped to talk to the people that were asking for donations and found out that they were looking to raise funds for the Blind Service Association Youth Program via the Children's Benefit League of Chicago Tag Days. The BSA Youth Program provides blind youth of Chicago and the surrounding areas with special training they need in learning to become independent is not always available at home or through the schools they attend. It also provides blind youth with a six-week summer program called Pathways. "Pathways includes training in daily living skills, such as cooking, house cleaning, shopping, cane travel and money management. Kids also enjoy sports and recreation and field trips to various cultural sites. They'll play baseball, go swimming, take tandem bike rides, learn yoga, and go on a boat ride." So today, for my random act of kindness, I donated to the program so that these children can (and should) feel just like any other child.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 104: Cared For A Man Who Collapsed

Up until today (and every day after today) I have performed my random acts on the day that I blog about it. I made it a point that I would do my acts of kindness every single day of the year, and not do a bunch on the weekend and then stretch them across the blog. I just felt as though it was being disingenuous because one of the main themes behind this was to show that it isn't difficult to perform random acts of kindness every single day. Something that happened yesterday, however, led me to break my rule this one time. It was a truly random act of kindness and one that honestly worried the hell out of me.

While in the middle of my work day near Northwestern Hospital, a woman came running into the building I was in to ask for help. I didn't hear her at first, but the man at the front desk of the building ran over and asked if I could help the woman since he couldn't leave his post. I said of course and sprinted outside to see what was the matter. I saw an older gentleman lying halfway on the ground and halfway inside of a cab. At this point, my random acts weren't even a thought, I just knew that I had to help the man. When I came up, he was completely out of it. He had just left a doctor's appointment, and as he was getting into a cab, he lost feeling in his legs and collapsed on the ground. I asked the woman he was with to call 911, and while she did that, I worked on getting the gentleman to a safe place on the sidewalk (the cab was in the middle of traffic). With the help of another passerby, we lifted the man over to the sidewalk. I held him up and stayed with him because he seemed to be very confused. I kept talking to him because he seemed to be losing it a little bit and I wanted to make sure he remained calm. In my own mind, I was getting somewhat frustrated because we were in the middle of a gigantic medical complex, the man was obviously having a medical issue, and people passed by like nothing was a matter, doctors included. Finally after about 10 minutes (again, we were in a medical complex and it took 10 minutes), the ambulance arrived. At that point the paramedics took over and loaded the man into the ambulance and drove away. The woman that he was with, a co-worker I later found out, thanked me and headed off to follow him to the ER. I only got his last name, and due to hospital regulations, I wasn't able to figure out if he was OK. So if somehow, anyone knows Mr. Snyder (Tom I think his name was) that had a medical emergency near Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, please pass along my well wishes. Since this technically took place yesterday, I will be sure to weave different small random acts into my daily routine.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 103: Had A Conversation With A Homeless Person

As I have said in a previous post, Chicago, per capita, has one of the highest homeless populations in the United States. A day doesn't go by where I am walking around the city and don't see at least 5 people asking for change, food, etc. I wish I had won the Mega Millions so that I could go around and take care of each person I met. It saddens me to see how many people walk by and disregard the homeless both here and in other cities. Every single day they are treated like they aren't even human, when in reality they are the same as everyone else. Unfortunately, due to a loss of work, mental sickness, dependence issues or many other reasons, they haven't been able to "make it." One of the homeless men I gave a care package to said even a small "hello" from a stranger sometimes helps him get through the day. Since then, I always make it a point to smile, head nod or in some way acknowledge each homeless person I see. I really feel as though I could be doing more though and that brings me to today's random act. Today, as I walk around my territory for work, I am going to make it a point to have a conversation with a homeless person. Whether it is general chit chat or the story of how they got in this position, I want them to know that there are people out there who don't look down upon them. All I ask of the people who read this blog is to just be more cognizant of the impact that both positive and negative gestures can have on others, and to know that even just a smile and "hello" can go a very long way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 102: Worked at McDonald's

Back on Day 83, I had the opportunity to meet with and interact the kids in the AVID Program at Kelly High School. It was probably some of the most fun that I have had during my random acts, and the kids gave me such great suggestions for future acts. At the end of our get together, they asked if I could join them in an effort to raise money for The Dreamers' Movement Scholarship at Kelly High School which helps undocumented high school kids fulfill their dream of going to college. Who am I to turn down a random act of kindness? So tonight, along with teachers from Kelly High School, I will be slapping together 2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onion on a sesame seed bun, and working at McDonald's. 20% of all sales tonight will go towards The Dreamers' Movement Scholarship. So if you are near the McDonald's on 38th and Archer here in Chicago, please stop by and pick up some fries!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 101: Voted For A Hero

National Mobility Awareness Month exists as a way to "educate the public that people with disabilities constitute the 2nd largest minority group in the United States." In the United States and Canada alone there are over 18 million people with mobility issues, 6 million of which are veterans. The month of May is recognized as National Mobility Awareness Month, and there will be many different seminars and open houses nationwide to discuss issues and solutions for those with mobility issues.

"But Ryan, it is April 10th. Why are you doing a random act for something that doesn't start until May?"

Well, the reason why I am putting this up now is because the NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) is having a contest that you can vote on between now and May 13th. There will be 3 winners of the Local Hero Contest with each winning a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. You have the ability to vote online for a caregiver, veteran or person with a disability who is dealing with or overcoming challenges. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to be voting for one of the heroes on the site. I have gone through a bunch of the stories, and I wish there was a way that each of them could receive a vehicle because these people truly are all heroes. If you get a chance, please take a few minutes to go and vote for one of the entrants.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 100: Supported the 100 Club

Here we are. Day 100. The first real milestone of this journey. It is insane to think that we are almost a third of the way through the 366 Random Acts. Something that started out as a simple New Year's resolution and promise to my daughter has turned in to one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved in. I have met so many amazing people on this journey such as Miles Austrevich, the LaGiglia Family, Pastor Corey Brooks, the kids in the AVID program at Kelly High School, and many other people both here and abroad that have had such a profound impact on my life and mission. Fears that I wouldn't be able to complete this mission have been replaced with hope and excitement of what is still to come. I have some surprises up my sleeve for the rest of the year, but as always, I welcome ideas from anyone. Please continue to spread the word about this blog, our Facebook page, and our Twitter account (@366RandomActs) so that the end of the year donation can continue to grow! Now to Day 100...

A year ago, my friend Paul graduated from the academy and became a member of the Chicago Police Department. He comes from a family that is very dedicated to service as his father, brother and brother-in-law all serve to protect people in the Chicagoland area. Paul works in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods here in Chicago, not because he was told to, but because he volunteered to go there in order to make a difference. I get super stressed out whenever the lead story on the news mentions a police officer shot because on top of Paul, I have a cousin and a number of other family members and friends that are police officers. The sad reality is that there are those out there who have gone through the same stress that I do, but unfortunately, their loved one is the name that appears on the screen. When losing someone, there is obviously a tremendous burden on their families, but sadly, there is a great financial burden as well. The 100 Club of Chicago (and other cities around the country) exists to help ease the financial burden of the families of brave men and women who serve in public safety, police and fire departments who lose their lives or are severely injured in the line of duty. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to purchase a hat from the 100 Club with proceeds going towards helping the families.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 99: Passed Out Easter Baskets at Children's Memorial

My Easter Bunny Helper

Maybe by this time next year, Isla will sit still to take a picture with the Easter bunny and it will hopefully turn out something like this. This is my daughter's first Easter, and although she is loving the fact that she gets to wear bunny ears all day, she really isn't old enough to enjoy an Easter basket or an Easter egg hunt. However, just because she isn't old enough to appreciate the spoils that come during the Easter season, that doesn't mean that others can't. In place of a single basket for my daughter, today for my random act of kindness, I will be spending part of my afternoon along with my friend Laura passing out Easter baskets to kids at Children's Memorial Hospital here in Chicago. I couldn't imagine Isla spending extended time in the hospital let alone during a holiday. I know it isn't much, but if I can somehow get these kids to stop thinking about their situation for a small amount of time, then that is what I need to do. Happy Easter to everyone (and Chag Sameach to our Jewish friends)!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 98: Cleaned Up the Table and Did the Dishes

Due to my random act for tomorrow, my family is celebrating Easter today. I am looking forward to dominating ham, baked pineapple and way too many chocolate Easter eggs. Typically during big family meals, I gorge myself to the point of exhaustion, and end up passing out on the floor immediately after eating. By the time I come out of my food coma, my mom and wife have gone and finished all the cleaning and dishes. I intend to change that trend today. Since one of my random acts was to eat better and get in shape, I am going to make sure I don't eat myself into a comatose state. Also, for today's random act of kindness, I am going to be solely responsible for cleaning the dining room and kitchen, as well as doing all of the dishes. I will clean every last speck off of every last dish, pruny hands be damned.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 97: Surprised My Wife With A Massage

She is thinking "Ahhhhhh"

My wife has been under an enormous amount of stress recently. Losing her father weighs a lot on her emotions, and on top of that she has a lot to juggle between her job and role in our daughter's life. I try to do as much as possible for her, but with work, I sometimes am not able to contribute as much as I would like. Because of that, I have been trying to find different ways to help out around the house, as well as do different things that can help take some of the stress out of her life. So for today's random act of kindness, I just surprised my wife with a massage at her favorite spa in Chicago. While she is there getting herself de-stressed, I will be home putting the baby to bed and preparing dinner for her to enjoy when she gets back. I love her so much and want to do anything in my power to give her as much of a care free life as possible.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 96: Opening Day Donation

There is nothing that makes me feel like a kid again more than opening day of the baseball season. When I hear the first crack of the bat, I am instantly transported back to my youth and can picture myself on the field playing with my friends. Baseball will always hold tons of memories for me. To me, there is not a sport more connected to youth than baseball. That is why I see such an issue with the decline of baseball leagues and participation within the inner cities of America. Most kids within inner cities quit playing baseball between the ages of 13 to 16 mostly because of a lack of funding, community support and a lack of organization. Luckily, Major League Baseball has created the RBI Program (Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities). Through this program, baseball is looking to fund programs and get baseball alive and kicking again in places that it has been dormant for years. So today, for my random act of kindness, I donated to revive athletic programs and facilities to underserved children through Chicago White Sox charities. Perhaps kids who benefit from this today will help the White Sox win another World Series in my lifetime. I just hope for their sake, they don't end up on the Cubs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 95: Random Cabs of Kindness

One of the things that has baffled me about New York City is the fact that there as so many cabs here, but they are never open. Yesterday, I was almost late to my random act because I had to wait for nearly 25 minutes for a cab. It was insane and super stressful. I've also noticed that people are somewhat ruthless when it comes to getting a cab for themselves. There is no courtesy given to women, senior citizens or families when it comes to hailing a cab. My mom raised me to be more of a gentleman than that. So today, for my random act of kindness, whenever the opportunity arises (and it will) to either give up a cab to someone or hail a cab for someone, I will do it. If an opportunity doesn't arise, I will spend some time outside of my hotel helping the doormen hail cabs down, just to ensure that my random act is completed. I only have one more day here in New York, and although it has been fun and a great learning experience, I am ready to see my girls.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 94: Helped Someone With Their Resume

When I first started working out of college, and for the next 3 years, I was in the recruiting industry. Time and time again, I found myself helping people on everything from their presentation skills all the way down to their resume. Anything I could do to make them more hireable, I would do. Although it was work, I would always get excited when someone would get placed because I always remembered how excited I was when I got my first job. Since then, I really haven't had the opportunity to utilize my resume skills for others.

Streetwise Partners is an organization here in New York City that works with low-income individuals to help them overcome employment barriers, obtain better jobs, and achieve economic self-sufficiency. They have put together a number of different programs from mock interviews to speed networking to business writing. Tonight, for my random act of kindness, I will be joining up with Streetwise Partners to take part in one of their business writing seminars. I will be working with one of the people they mentor on their cover letter and resume, so we can make any necessary changes to improve their hireability. Although the economy and job market are improving, anything that these individuals can do to increase their chances of employment will be huge!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 93: The Big Apple Give

Today is my first full day in New York for the week. While much of it will be spent in training sessions at ZocDoc, I will have some free time in the evenings to get away for dinner with co-workers and some random acts. When I went to bed last night, I was kind of freaking out because, although I have some other days planned, I didn't really think of anything specific for today. I was racking my brain trying to think of something and it just popped into my head.

New York is seen around the world as a place of opportunity. To people coming from the far reaches of the world it is a symbol of hope, a chance to live out their dreams, and a new place to call home. That, however, is not the case with a growing segment of the population. In 2011, more than 35,000 people within the New York City metropolitan area were counted as being homeless (an all-time high). I wanted to do something for as many of them as I could, but didn't know where to start. Then I remembered one of the nicknames for New York City...The Big Apple. So, although it is just a small start and I wish I could do more, for my random act of kindness, I am going to do The Big Apple Give. I am going to go buy a bunch of apples and hand them out to homeless around the city, so they can at least have something nutritious and healthy to eat this evening. I know it isn't much, but my hope is that these people can see that there are people out there whose hope when coming here is that they can get back on their feet.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 92: Took The P's To Breakfast

If you didn't get it by now, April Fools! Disregard my previous post. It will take a natural disaster for me not to complete a random act of kindness (even though I am sure I could find a random act after a natural disaster). Today I leave for New York City for a week of training at ZocDoc. Although I have to leave my wife and daughter, I am really looking forward to it. I have some random acts planned for New York City, so it will be fun to do some cross country acts. This morning I had to bring my dog down to the suburbs to leave with my mother and stepfather, and since I had some time before my flight, I figured I would eat breakfast with them. So, today for my random act of kindness, I treated them to breakfast. Now I am off to O'Hare and fully intend on pulling as many April Fools jokes on as many people as possible for the remainder of the day. Don't worry, I will try to keep them as kind as possible.

Today's Random Act

Unfortunately due to my travels I am unable to perform my random act for today.