“Good Samaritan” -a compassionate person who unselfishly helps others.
This summer, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw a picture of one of my friends wearing a “Kindness Matters” shirt. It grabbed my attention and stuck with me. I ended up contacting my friend to ask her about it. She told me about the Samaritans 365 Organizationand put me in touch with the founder, Laura Reiss.
After speaking to Laura and learning more about her mission and goals, I knew immediately that this was something I was meant be a part of.
I learned that The Samaritans 365 Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit that connects philanthropic organizations and school-aged children. Their mission is to educate and inspire the students to positively impact our world and spread the message that KINDNESS MATTERS.
A trained parent or student ambassador runs the Samaritans 365 clubs. I began right away working on getting Principal approval and securing a teacher liaison. I then signed up to attend the training. It was inspiring to be surrounded by a group of people who all had the same intention. There were over 30 of us learning how to bring the club to our schools this year. In addition to the teacher, I am fortunate enough to have another compassionate mother running the club with me, and a very caring Grandparent volunteer.
We meet a minimum of once a month in a free after-school club format. In addition, there are weekend and summer events that include the entire family and community. Each month, the club partners with a different charity, cause or philanthropic organization to participate in a hands-on project that benefits the organization they are partnered with that month.
By contributing to society and improving their community, the children develop a sense of gratitude and a great sense of personal confidence. They get to experience the feelings of fulfillment as they perform these acts of charity.
Our school opened up the club to 3rd-5th graders. We had almost 50
students sign up and attend our first meeting! We purposely planned this initial meeting without a speaker so we could use this time to set our intentions by establishing our goals for the club and discuss the reasons why the students had signed up. We are so fortunate to have the support of PTA and parents who donated money so we can purchase any supplies and materials we may need throughout the year.
During this first meeting, we made key chains with positive messages. We brainstormed examples of what sayings would brighten someone’s day. We are shipping these across the country to Denver, Colorado for the Shimmer Sparkle Shine Project to use as part of their program. They are a registered non-profit whose mission is to help increase the self worth of girls and women through educational workshops and activities.
We also began decorating rocks with similar messages to leave around the school campus and eventually around our community. The Word Rocks Project that I saw on Instagram inspired me. I contacted the founder and she told us to write #wordrocks on each one. I then reached out to Fun Chalk and told them about the project and our club. They were so generous to donate a pack of liquid chalk markers for our club to use on the rocks. The children had so much fun using the markers to design their own rocks. They were really easy to write with and worked very well on the rock surface.
I’m excited, honored, and proud to have this new title of “Samaritans 365 Ambassador”. I will be blogging more about our monthly projects. If you would like to be involved, or if you would like additional information about Samaritans 365, please visit www.samaritans365.org.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is every wasted”- Aesop