Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 152: Bought a Sandwich for a Homeless Couple

It is a miserable day here in Chicago from a weather standpoint. The forecast calls for chilly temperatures and rain throughout the day. My appointments today are in a part of my territory that requires me to walk around in the weather. However, I am not going to let a few raindrops stop me from spreading kindness. A little while ago I saw a couple asking for food outside of a restaurant. They weren't asking for money, they just needed some food to get by. Although I couldn't stop at that time because I was late for an appointment, I made it a point to swing bak around afterwards. So today, for my random act of kindness I purchased a couple of sandwiches, chips and waters for the couple. They were an older couple, and it hurt me to imagine how they have gotten to this point. Regardless of how it happened I'm glad I could at least help them a little bit today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 151: Voted for an Impact Award Nominee

On Monday, I received a message from a friend overseas who is currently working with an organization called Life Bloom Services International, a group based in Kenya whose goal it is to intervene and save women and young girls who have been dragged into the sex worker industry.  Headed by Catherine Wanjohi, Life Bloom uses a mentoring model to help reconstruct the women/girls' self-esteem to "pave the way for them to fulfill their life dreams."  Currently, they are looking to build a One-Stop vocational and leadership lraining school for women and girls in Naivasha, Kenya.  One of the ways that they are looking to get the word out for this project is by trying to win the Global Women's Leadership Network's 2012 Impact Award which would allow Catherine to attend the Women Leaders of the World summit this July in California.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I will be voting for Catherine and Life Bloom Services International so that they can get closer to their goal of helping these women and girls out.  If you have a few minutes, please take the time to vote for Catherine's cause as well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 150: Supported Stars of Hope

Over the weekend, my wife and I went to see a movie.  This might not seem like a big deal to anyone, but it was to us.  It was the first time since before my daughter was born that we were able to get away to see a movie.  I love going to the movies during the summer.  To me, there is nothing like leaving the scorching heat and humidity for a couple hours of enjoyment in the coldest air conditioning outside of a meat freezer.  While my most anticipated movie of the summer (The Dark Knight Rises) doesn't come out for a couple more months, I had been wanting to see Men In Black 3 for a while now because Will Smith is gold.  After convincing my wife that we would enjoy MIB3 more than What To Expect When You're Expecting, we were able to see it and it was awesome.  Before I go into a scene by scene synopsis of the movie, let me reel it in and get back to where my random act comes into play.  While purchasing our tickets to the movie, the teller asked us if we would want to purchase a star for Regal Cinemas' annual Stars of Hope program.  Stars of Hope is an event that takes place in movie theaters across the country where people have the opportunity to purchase stars and have the proceeds go to The Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation.  The foundation promotes and engages in medical research for cardio-pulmonary diseases as well as education programs for the public on health and fitness.  They also work to help the creation of treatments and cures for pulmonary diseases and disorders.  Although I could have purchased the star then and there, I knew that I wanted to do it for one of my random acts, and told the teller that I would be back to get a star.  She has probably heard people say this in the past as a way to get out of buying one, but I hope she is there today when I return because today for my random act of kindness, I am going to be supporting the Stars of Hope by going back and getting one of those stars.  Now if Will Smith can do a random act of kindness for me and get together with Martin Lawrence and Michael Bay to make Bad Boys 3, it will be an all around great day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 149: Placed American Flags on the Graves of Veterans

Today is a day known as the start of summer.  Barbecues, pool openings, and a day off of work.  While I appreciate the day off and parties as much as the next person, I feel like the focus of the holiday has gotten away from its' true meaning.  Memorial Day exists as a day to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces, both fallen and surviving.  I took the time today to call or at least text those that I know who have served in the military such as Staff Sgt. John La Giglia and my good friend, Marine Sgt. Lee Best.  After taking the time to thank them, I started thinking about how I would be able to honor or thank soldiers that lost their lives on the field of battle.  While out running errands this morning with my wife, we passed a cemetery, and I started thinking about all of the soldiers who were buried in there that hadn't been honored.  So today, for my random act of kindness, my family drove to Home Depot and bought American flags to place on the graves of as many soldiers as we could find that hadn't already received one.  We were able to honor soldiers of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  If you know someone in the Armed Forces, or see a member of the military walking around today, be sure to thank them, shake their hand, buy them a beer or something to let them know the importance of their job.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 148: Operation Honor Wall

Although tomorrow is technically Memorial Day, I think taking an extra day to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces for the ultimate sacrifice they had made is alright, don't you think?  A few years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Washington DC.  Besides navigating through the record snowfall from the Blizzard of 2010, the trip was incredible.  We were able to see the National Symphony Orchestra, visit all of the museums, have the most incredible lobster risotto on Earth, and see the house where some of the most important people in American history have lived (the house where the cast of The Real World: Washington DC lived.  I bet you thought I meant a different house).  However, out of all the different things that we saw during our trip, the attraction that stood out the most to us was the Vietnam Memorial.  I have a cousin that I never knew whose name we found on the wall, joined by 58,272 others that sacrificed their lives for the well-being of others.  The Memorial Day holiday got me thinking about that wall, and how I could honor not just those who fell in Vietnam, but those who gave their lives in all other wars.  After a little research, I came across Operation Honor Wall.  Operation Honor Wall is a place where "grateful Americans can honor our fallen heroes and survivors" by adding an online "inscription" on the wall.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I wrote an inscription thanking not just the soldiers, but the families of those soldiers for the sacrifices they have made to protect my family and friends.  If you have the opportunity, please visit Operation Honor Wall and make a post of your own.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 147: Brought A Meal To New Parents

The first few weeks and months after Isla was born are a blur to me now.  Not since my fraternity hell week have I survived on such a lack of sleep.  It is insane to think about the schedule that we kept and how neither of us lost our mind.  Before she was born, I pretty much never drank coffee save for a few Java Chips from Starbucks.  The job my wife did getting Isla to be a 12 hour sleeper at 2 months deserves a trophy or medal of some sort because if the lack of sleep had continued, I might have turned into an actual zombie.  Needless to say, I can appreciate how hectic life is for the parents of a newborn.  With little to no time to cook, we survived on PB&Js and the meals that were provided to us by friends and family.  Those meals gave us the time to just relax and enjoy ourselves for a small amount of time before crying and feeding started again.  My friends just had a newborn, so I assume they are going through pretty much the same things Lindsey and I did.  So today, for my random act of kindness, we are going to bring them fresh (not home)cooked sandwiches from a great little Italian sub place here in the city.  Hopefully for a little while we can allow them to relax all while introducing Isla to her new friend.  Here is a picture of Isla when she was a newborn during one of her many naps.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 146: Bowled 4 Miles

On Day 8, I told a joke.  I didn't know it at the time, but it became a random act for a cause that I would participate in/volunteer for many more times throughout the year so far, as well as make some new friends from it.  For those that just started reading this blog, I told a joke (actually Isla told the joke for me) for an awesome kid named Miles who is currently living with his 4th recurrence of brain cancer.  Miles' father, Len, has made it his mission to get 5000 people to tell Miles a joke in order to fight cancer with humor.  Recently, Miles was supposed to leave to go to Los Angeles to undergo a potentially life saving stem cell treatment, but unfortunately the trip needed to be postponed due to an increase in his cancer numbers.  The plan to get him out to Los Angeles is still in the works, but for now, Miles will be undergoing chemo to get the cancer in check prior to his departure.  In typical Len and Miles fashion, they won't be letting the news of the postponement get them down.  Instead, they will be having a party, nay, a fest.  A MilesFest.  So this evening, along with my wife and daughter, I will be joining Len, Miles and others at MilesFest.  It is a bowling/karaoke party at Diversey Rock N Bowl here in Chicago.  So if you need a party to kick your Memorial Day weekend off right, join us there.  As always, if you have a joke, well wish, song, interpretive dance or anything else you'd like to send Miles' way, you can do so at the Jokes 4 Miles website

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 145: Helped An Old Lady Cross The Street

I don't care what Condescending Willy Wonka says.

There are certain random acts that I always keep stored in my head, and when the opportunity presents itself, I act on them for my daily act of kindness.  Today is one of those random acts that I have been planning on doing since Day 1 but haven't had the opportunity to do it.  Finally...Finally the opportunity has presented itself.  Today, for my random act of kindness, I helped an old la...ahem, female senior citizen, cross the street.  I saw her struggling to get across the street and the crosswalk light was almost down to 0.  I asked her if I could help her across, and she accepted.  We locked arms, and went the rest of the way.  She said she was surprised that someone actually came to help her.  I am super pumped about the fact that I was able to do this one.  I was starting to think I wasn't going to be able to do one of the most cliche random acts of all. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 144: Left Pennies for Library Late Fees

Reading is super important to my wife.  She loves to read everything from parenting books to cookbooks to (gag) The Twilight Series.  As a teacher, she sees everyday the impact that consistent reading has on the education of students, so she is making it a point to pass on her love of reading to our daughter.  (Quick aside: I, on the other hand, only read blogs, news websites, my Twitter feed, and the guide on my DirecTV.  The last 2 books I read were the autobiography of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and one of R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps."  I need to change this.)  My wife is one of only a few people that I know who has a public library card, and although I joke with her about this fact, she loves it.  She utilizes the library card for books for her classroom as well as books for her own personal use.  Last time that I went to pick up books for her, I found out that she had a late fee.  I didn't have any cash or change on me, and I wouldn't have been able to pick them up if it wasn't for a stranger giving me the 15 cents for the late fee.  This inspired me for one of my random acts.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am bringing a jar of pennies that weren't used for my wish making random act and placing it at the checkout of the library for people to use for late fees.  I don't want a few pennies to keep someone from the joy of reading, so I will do my part to make sure they don't

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 143: Made A Kiva Loan

The other day, I received an email from a woman named Jessica who had a couple of random act suggestions for me.  I was super appreciative and I will be sure to get around to them, but one really jumped out at me due to the fact that I hadn't heard it before.  Jessica sent me an invitation to a website for the organtization Kiva.  Kiva is a non-profit organization that works with microfinance institution in countries all over the world to help fund loans for people who do not have access to traditional banking systems.  It gives people who are struggling the means to get up and running or back on their feet, and then once they get back going, they repay you and you can use the money to fund other loans.  It is a tremendous giving circle that is really helping people out.  Since 2005, over 760,000 Kiva lenders have lent over $313 million dollars.  98.4% of that $313 million dollars has already been paid back by the borrowers!

The invite that Jessica sent me came with a free $25 that I could use to help fund one of the loans.  I chose to help a man named Reynaldo from the Philippines.  Reynaldo "is a father who is very determined to improve his family's living status to give them a better life. He is 43 years old and has four school-aged children. They live happily in a village, planting and harvesting rice and vegetables for sale. Due to the high cost of commodities and school fees, he engages in a hog-raising business to earn additional income to support his children's education. He is asking for additional capital of PHP (Philippine Pesos) 50,000 to buy feed, vitamins and vaccines needed for hog-raising. He mentioned that his loan will enable him to improve his business and hopes that he will be successful in the future."

Here is one of the exciting part about making the loans.  Now that I have enrolled, I have the opportunity to invite people to make free $25 (or more of their own money) Kiva loans of their own.  So if you would like to participate, please email me at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 142: Thanked the Police

It was a pretty wild weekend here in Chicago, and the craziness continues today.  With the NATO Summit taking place here, thousands upon thousands of protesters have taken to the streets.  Unfortunately, for every legitimate protester who is here peacefully to march for their beliefs, there are 100 others that are here simply to be a part of the action and to create anarchy.  Some people are here just to destroy things and to film YouTube videos of the chaos.  Well, I guess saying "chaos" isn't appropriate because it really hasn't gotten to the point of being chaotic.  That is because the Chicago Police Department, along with police from other agencies around the country, have done a tremendous job of keeping the crazies at bay while allowing the real protesters to do their thing.  Outside of a little traffic, my family hasn't really experienced any of the residuals from the NATO.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I have made it a point to thank every police officer I have seen thus far for the job they have done not only today, but every day.  I am sending a special thank you out to my friend Paul, who is a Chicago Police Officer who has been in the midst of everything for the past week.  Stay safe out there and great job!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 141: Celebrated Mother's Day

Sorry for the brevity in my posts the past couple of days, but I have been traveling a bunch for the wedding I officiated over yesterday.  As I mentioned last Sunday, my family postponed Mother's Day to this week because my wife and sister were both out of town.  It is my wife's first Mother's Day, my sister's first as godmother of our daughter, and my mom's first as a grandma.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I will be cooking up some food on the grill and helping with the dishes for the ladies in my life for Mother's Day.  Now I am off to do that and then go march in a NATO protest here in Chicago (just kidding).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 140: Married My Friends

I love weddings. There is no better time to spend with friends and family than at a wedding. I also cry at them. Today I will have to temper my tears because I will kind of be on the spot. Today, for my random act of kindness, I am acting as the officiant and marrying my friends Maria and Dan. In the matter of 5 minutes i became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church Online. I'm excited, a little nervous and somewhat sweaty. We are here in Bloomington, Indiana, where we all went to college. Now it is time to crank it up and play priest for the day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 139: Paid Someone's Toll

Hopefully our toll booth experience goes better than Sonny Corleone's

In a couple of hours, I will head down to Bloomington, Indiana (Go Hoosiers!) for the wedding weekend of my friends Dan and Maria (more on this tomorrow).  It has been over a year since I have been back to IU, and I can't wait to go sit out on the patio at Kilroy's and enjoy a cold beer.  When I think back to my days in college and then see what I have now, namely my wife and daughter, I am amazed to see how life has changed.  I have traded in popped collars at frat parties for burp cloths at bed time.  For the first couple of years out of college, I missed it so much and wanted so badly to go back.  Now, the next time I will spend extended time at a college campus will be to go on visits with Isla when she is choosing where to go (although she only has the choice of IU and UCLA).  Well as we embark on our journey south to B-Town, we will encounter a couple of tolls on the road.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to be paying the toll of the car I am riding in and the car behind us.  Hopefully this will start a chain of kindness similar to the chain in the coffee line in Montana.  Everyone have a great weekend.  If you are in Chicago, be sure to dodge the NATO protesters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 138: How You Doin'?

Sorry for the delay in posting this.  I had to try it out this morning to make sure that it worked for the rest of the day for my random act.  Fortunately, I can say that it has. 

I always see a lot of people walking around with scowls or sad looks on their faces.  Maybe they are having a bad day, maybe they heard bad news, or maybe the just like scowling.  Nearly 100% of the time, I walk past these people without giving it a second thought. 

Typically, when I see someone overcome with emotion to the point of crying, I will at least ask if everything is ok or how they are doing.  I just feel as though it is the right thing to do even if I don't know them.  I guess this can be seen as intrusive but I'm not really worried about what made them feel this way as much as I am trying to help them feel better.  Well I realized that regardless of if it is someone with just a sad look or someone who has broken down, I will at least lend my voice to help.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I set out to at a minimum ask people who had a sad look on their face "How are you doing?" or "Are you ok?"  I figured that it at least let them know that someone, even a stranger, is there for them. I was scared to do this because I figured most people would tell me to get the hell away or mind my own business.  Thus far, I haven't really gotten into extensive conversations with the 2 people I have said this to, but they have at least thanked me for asking.  We will see how the rest of the day goes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 137: Donated Free Kibble

Back in 2002, during my sophomore year of college, I adopted my dog Vinny.  He is easily the most handsome dog on the fact of the Earth and he knows it.  From time to time, I walk into a room and see him looking at himself in the mirror.  The only thing he loves more than himself, is me.  For almost 10 years, Vinny has never left my side.  When my wife comes to kiss me in the morning, she still to this day hears his growls of jealousy.  I love my dog (and even my insane cat, Karen) just the same.  The animals have never been without love from my wife and I, and more specifically without food. 

Animal shelters are amazing places.  The people that work there have such adoration for animals and are emotionally invested in seeing them be adopted.  They take such great care of these animals, some of which had previously been severely mistreated.  Unfortunately, many of these animal shelters don't have the funding to take on as many animals as they would like.  This is sometimes due to a lack of supplies to care for and feed the pets.  So, today for my random act of kindness, I am combining my love of trivia with my love of animals, and I will be donating free kibble.  There is a website called Free Kibble (and its' sister site, Free Kibble Kat) where each day you can answer a trivia question about dogs and cats, and for each correct questions, 10 pieces of kibble is donated to animal shelters around the country.  It is great to see people doing things like these sites and Free Rice, and I will be sure to utilize and bring them to all of you.  And for those wondering about my dogs handsomeness, here it is...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 136: Gave An Hour

Many times, even for the troops that make it home from overseas, fighting to protect our freedoms come with a substantial price.  There are so many things which take a toll on our fighting men and women during their time serving to protect us: the anguish of losing friends, the strain of being away from loved ones, the intense day to day conditions that they live under.  Many times the psychological wounds are as bad, if not worse, than the physical wounds that soldiers return home with.  It is estimated that about 18%, or 300,000 soldiers, return home with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression.  There are so many instances, however, where these severe psychological issues go untreated either due to a wrong classification of symptoms or due to the stigma associated with getting psych treatment.  That is where Give An Hour comes into play.  Give An Hour acts as an intermediary between soldiers in need of psychological treatment and the providers that offer services paid for by donors.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I became one of those donors and funded an hour of psychological services for a soldier.  It isn't insanely expensive (only $17) and can really help to get these heroes as healthy mentally as possible. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 135: Picked Up My Girls

My wife and daughter were in California for the weekend to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother-in-law.  They were supposed to come home yesterday, but unfortunately a stomach flu hit them both and they were unable to travel.  Although they aren't feeling 100% yet, they are going to leave California to come back home in a couple of hours.  I cannot wait to see them, and have been agonizing over the fact that they have been gone an extra 24 hours.  Although this is kind of something that is a given duty in my role as a husband and father, today's random act of kindness will be to battle tonight's rush hour traffic to pick up my girls from the airport rather than have them take a shuttle service (and so that I can see them sooner).  I can't wait to see them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 134: Brought Carnations to a Nursing Home

All the way back on Day 22 (wow that seems so long ago), my mom requested that in lieu of a birthday present, I use the money I would have used for a gift on a future random act to help out at a nursing home.  With it being Mother's Day, I figure this is as good a day as any to follow through on this request.  My wife and daughter are in California, and my sister is flying in from Florida next week, so technically we are celebrating Mother's Day next Sunday.  However, I couldn't let the day go by without doing something to honor the mothers out there.  So today, for my random act of kindness, my mom and I are going to go to a nursing home near her house and pass out carnations to all of the women there.  For those that don't have a child or grandchild, we have no problem with being their de facto relatives for the afternoon.  I want to also take this opportunity to thank all of the mothers and grandmothers out there for everything that you do.  Raising a child is the toughest job on the planet and it is important that you are recognized on days like today.  So Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 133: Casino Night!

For nearly 100 years, Chicago's St. Vincent de Paul Center has been serving the needs of the city's working poor through programs and services that concentrate on child development, social services and homeless outreach programs.  The past 2 years, my fraternity brother, Mike McSherry, has put together an awesome charity event called House of Cards to benefit over 600 children of low-income families, the homeless, and at-risk seniors on behalf of SVDPC.  The House of Cards is an evening of gambling and revelry in cocktail attire with all funds going towards the cause.  So tonight, for my random act of kindness, I will enjoy this casino night, and hopefully I will walk away with one of the top prizes (take this as a promise that if I win any prizes, it will go towards a future random act).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 132: Wore Red, White and Blue

Unfortunately, due to her being on an early morning flight to California with my wife, I can not exploit my daughter's cuteness on the blog today.  That is why you see a picture of my bony wrist at the top.  Today is the last day of our "Wore [Insert Color] Week" and it has been great having the opportunity to learn about a number of important causes.  This morning, on my way to a work training, I learned of another cause that I hadn't heard of before.  The Create Jobs for USA Program "provides loans to underserved community business, which include small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing".  The ultimate goal of the program is to create new jobs and sustain economic growth in communities throughout the country.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I purchased and am wearing a red, white and blue bracelet that represents the Create Jobs for USA program.  100% of  the money donated for the bracelet goes towards the program and so far, over 2,300 jobs have been created and sustained through the program.  I think everyone can agree that new jobs are a good thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 131: Wore Green

I miss my Grandma "Mugs".  She was very sweet, caring, hilarious, and you never went a day without hearing from her on the phone (for some in our family, you never went 45 minutes without hearing from her on the phone).  She lived with us when I was in junior high and part of high school, so she was there to see me start to grow up (notice I didn't use the word mature).  She put up with my many practical jokes, my loud music, and my general teenage moodiness.  What I never truly realized or appreciated was that my moodiness was nothing in comparison to what my Grandma was going through.  That is because my Grandma was bipolar, which at the time was described as manic depressive.  There would be times that my Grandma would just lay on the couch, and not be in the mood to joke around, but I figured it was just because she was getting older or tired.  Luckily, at least around me, my Grandma tried her hardest to always put on a brave, happy face.  The reason why I am sharing this with you, is to raise awareness for bipolar disorder.  It is estimated that 5.7 million Americans currently are suffering from bipolar, but a large percentage of this estimated number isn't receiving any sort of treatment.  So today, for my random act of kindness, my daughter and I are wearing green in order to get the word out for bipolar disorder.  In addition to this, the green raises awareness for Celiac Disease (get well Carter), HIV/AIDS testing, Kidney Cancer, Lyme Disease, Lymphoma and for Organ Donation/Transplants. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 130: Wore Purple

This week I have discovered that, although I am dedicating each day to a specific cause by wearing different colors, there are many different causes which are represented by these colors.  I am wearing each color this week for someone specifically or because it was suggested by someone.  So for the next could of days, on top of the specific reason that I am wearing a certain color, I am going to list all of the other causes that it represents.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that attacks different parts and organs of the body that can range from a mild case to being fatal.  It is still unknown as to what causes lupus, and funding for research is something that is always needed.  5 million people worldwide suffer from lupus.  It is a disease that doesn't target a specific demographic as all people of all genders, ages and races can be stricken by it.  All of the previous information I had to gather from The Lupus Foundation of America because to be honest, before having it suggested as a cause for a random act, I only knew Lupus as a character from The Bad News Bears.  After doing research, I feel as though it is a cause that there is a lack of awareness for (and not just because of my personal ignorance on it).  So today, for my random act of kindness, my daughter and I are going to be wearing purple, the color of lupus awareness.  Purple doesn't just represent lupus.  There are a number of other causes with which we can bring awareness to just by wearing purple: pancreatic cancer, ADD/ADHD, Child Abuse, Crohn's Disease, and Alzheimer's.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 129: Wore Black

No we are not going to a funeral.  No we are not the world's biggest Johnny Cash fans.  No we didn't get dressed to go wait in line for Men in Black 3 (though we will be seeing it).  The reason that Isla and I are dressed in black for today's random act of kindness is to raise awareness for skin cancer and melanoma.  Just yesterday I learned that a buddy of mine was told by his doctor that he had an early stage melanoma on his arm.  Luckily, they caught it very early on and it shouldn't be anything that causes too much of a threat.  This really got me thinking about how I live my life and the steps I need to take to ensure that I am protecting my skin. The summer months are fast approaching and I know I will be spending a lot of time under the sun, so necessary precautions are super important.  I personally need to make more of a conscious effort to wear sun block when I am out in the sun because although I bronze up pretty nicely, I need to make sure to not look like The Tanning Mom (she gives me nightmares).  Seriously though, it was scary to hear my friend tell me of what could have happened if he didn't get checked out by a dermatologist and have it flagged early on.  I am going to be (prepare yourself for another shameless plug) making an appointment on ZocDoc with a dermatologist here in Chicago to do what will now be a yearly skin screening.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 128: Wore Blue

Recently, I scheduled a doctor's appointment for my annual physical. (I used ZocDoc of course.)  Since I just turned 30, I was thinking that this would require a whole new battery of tests that I hadn't had to go through before.  One of the tests that stuck out in my mind, and kind of freaked me out, was a prostate exam.  I figured it would be a really uncomfortable experience.  I had to have a sigmoidoscopy back in college, and that was beyond uncomfortable.  Luckily, I found out that, unless there were certain symptoms I was suffering from, I wouldn't have to start those until I was 50.  I guess I shouldn't say "luckily."  A prostate exam, as uncomfortable as I would picture it to be, is a necessity for men because it is the second leading cancer cause of death for men in the United States.  If caught early enough, however, it is one of the more treatable forms of cancer.  The benefits of getting the test FAR outweigh any perceived embarrassment from the exam itself.  Awareness needs to be raised for prostate cancer, and so, for today's random act of kindness, my daughter and I are going to be wearing blue, the color for prostate cancer awareness.  If you are a man nearing 50, or if you have a male loved one nearing that age, please make sure that they get the exam done at their next physical!  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 127: Wore Orange

Today's random act of kindness was done specifically for one of our readers named July A. Emmance, but it also goes for anyone suffering from or who knows someone suffering from leukemia.  Last year, July's grandfather passed away from leukemia.  It was very hard for her to watch her grandfather go through that, and it is even harder now as she knows a 5 year old boy who is going through the same thing.  July notified me of these stories and let me know that orange is the color for leukemia awareness, so today, for my random act of kindness, my daughter and I will wear the color orange.  My daughter even went the extra step and got sweet potatoes all over her clothes in order to wear even more orange.  I ask that people rock as much orange gear as possible today, and should a stranger stop you and ask you why you have so much orange on, please let them know it is to raise awareness for leukemia.  As I type this out, I just realized that I am going to have a new theme week for my random acts.  This week, my daughter and I will wear a different color or pattern every day to raise awareness for different causes.  Thank you July for the inspiration.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 126: Painted A Fence

After working at McDonald's with the AVID kids from Kelly High School, I guess I was cool enough to be invited to do another random act of kindness with them.  They had mentioned back on Day 83 that every year, in an effort to earn service points and extracurricular activities for the college applications, the students have a Home Improvement Day.  The students find senior citizens or people in need of help, and do things ranging from planting their garden, to cleaning their home to painting their house/fence, the latter of which was today's random act of kindness.  We visited the home of the grandmother of one of the students, and after an aggressive scraping of the old paint from the fence and window panes, were able to lay down a new coat of paint.  I can't stress enough how unbelievable these kids are.  The dedication to improving their education while at the same time improving their community is something that inspires me. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 125: Performed A Bunch of Goodsearches

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fool for random trivia.  I tape Jeopardy.  I drink Snapples simply for the random facts on the bottom of the lid.  I fill my brain with a ton of useless (and sometimes useful) information.  One of the vehicles that I have used to enhance my trivia knowledge is the internet.  Anytime a thought pops into my head or there is something I feel the need to know, I hurry up and search for the answer on Google or Wikipedia.  There really isn't a reason why I do this because I have never actually tried out to be on a game show or even called in to a radio station to answer questions.  Having this insatiable thirst for trivial knowledge is something that I never thought I could really utilize for my random acts of kindness.  That is until one of our readers emailed me with a website that could both feed my mind while helping others out. 

Goodsearch is a search engine powered by Yahoo that donates 50% of its' revenue (about a penny per search) to different charities listed on their site.  When performing a search on the site, you have the option of selecting from a number of different charities with which to make a donation.  You even have the option of adding your own charity, school or cause to the list of charities for a new way to earn money for them.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to be using Goodsearch as the tool for my never-ending quest for useless knowledge.  Moving forward, it is going to be what I use for all of these searches and seeing as how I search for things about 100 times a day (not an exaggeration), a great amount of money could be raised this year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 124: Passed Out Laminated Signs to the Homeless

Around the time I started doing my random acts, I began to notice homeless people around the city with laminated signs that read "Homeless" "Please Help" or "Veteran."  One day, about 3 weeks ago, I asked one of the homeless people where they received the sign, and they said that a man was going around the city and passing out these signs so that people would notice the homeless rather than pass by as though they are invisible.  After doing some research, I found the man responsible for the tremendous act of kindness.  His name is Christopher Devine, and he is the founder of Homeless Signs.  Christopher started this project with a couple of his friends in an effort to bring about more consciousness to the homeless around the Chicagoland area.  Rather than have people continuously pass by the homeless with ragged and torn cardboard signs, he gave them a vehicle with which to gain the attention of passersby.  I asked Christopher if I could join him on one of his days where he passed out the signs and he happily obliged.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to join Christopher in passing out laminated signs to the homeless.  Homelessness does not equal a lack of humanity, so please, if you are passing by someone, try to make eye contact or at least acknowledge that they are there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 123: Supported Running Joe

I love getting random act suggestions.  I actually like doing random acts that are suggested more than the ones I come up with on my own because typically they are things that are important to someone.  I also love doing things to help support the men and women of the Armed Forces.  Recently a reader (Thanks Chelsea P!) suggested a random act that involved a member of the Armed Forces, so I knew it was too good to pass up.

Joseph Lee Ortiz a.k.a. Running Joe is a veteran of the United States Navy.  Due to the physical toll of active duty, as well as a car accident, Joe suffered from hip and back pain that "took control of his life."  In 2010, Joe decided to make a change and began running, which surprisingly left him with little to no pain.  When he saw the benefits that running had on his well-being and health, he decided he would make a habit of it.  Since 2010, Joe has 3 Ultra Marathons, 11 Marathons and 8 Half-Marathons.  Recently, however, he has decided to take it one step thousands of steps further.  Joe recently embarked on a journey to support The Wounded Warrior Project, The American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Karno's Kids which battles childhood obesity.  This journey, dubbed The Trot to Texas, will see Joe run from Mission Beach, San Diego to his hometown of Aransas Pass, Texas.  In 31 days, Joe will have run over 1500 miles crossing through 4 states.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I left words of encouragement on Joe's Facebook page.  I am also purchasing one of his wristbands to support The Wounded Warrior project.  Good luck Joe!  I will be following the whole way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 122: Became A Voice For The Voiceless

Today is a milestone day for the journey.  Today officially marks the 1/3rd mark of 366 Random Acts of Kindness.  It is exciting in the fact that we have been able to make it this far without missing a single day, but is scary because, although I have plenty of ideas.....I NEED MORE!!!  If you have any suggestions for random acts, please don't hesitate in reaching out to me at  I am open to ideas both big and small and will try to get to as many of them as possible.  Now, on to Day 122...

Having a child is obviously a wonderful thing.  It brings my wife and I so much happiness, and we look forward to seeing my daughter grow everyday and seeing what new things she learns, does and hopefully soon, says.  One thing that I didn't expect when my daughter was born was that on top of all of the joy and happiness that she brought us, I would also experience fear like I never have before.  Fear that she may not be protected and safe at all times.  Fear that something may happen to her.  I don't live my life constantly fearful, but every so often, I see a news story or read something online that sickens me and brings fear to the forefront.  Yesterday as I walked in the Chicago Loop, I had some of these fears after learning some shocking statistics, and today for my random act, I want to do something about it.

It is estimated that 3,000 cases of childhood sexual abuse go unreported in the Chicagoland area every year.  These children have to live in silence and fear that if they speak up, they will be harmed or injured, all while the abuse continues.  The Chicago Children's Advocacy Center's mission is to eliminate the suffering of abused children in Chicago by uniting public, private and community partners to ensure their well-being.  Yesterday, the group took over Chicago's Daley Plaza for a program called Voices for 3000.  They asked people to pledge their "voice" for the voiceless children who, due to fear, can not speak out about their own abuse.  It is a way to stand up for these children and raise awareness for this serious problem.  So today, for my random act of kindness, I visited their website and pledged my voice.  Please visit Voices For 3000 and pledge your voice to help eliminate childhood sexual abuse.