We really enjoyed our 12 Months of Kindness last year; it seemed that in the 7 years that we've been committing to the project, that we finally had a great fit for our family in all the tasks. Last year, we were able to finish all tasks (with one change to November's task) and they were manageable for us in both time and financially. I wanted to work from some of our tasks from last year, but also build upon them this year to really allow opportunities for the kids to be involved more as they are getting a little older.
To create our 2016 list, Brandon and I looked at last year's list and discussed the things that really worked well and then I also headed to pinterest (kindness pinboard, 12 Months of Kindness board) to look for new projects that might work well for us this year.
As in each year's planning, we make sure to factor in certain events that we know are coming in the year and might limit (or enhance) opportunities for giving back. For example, this year, we had to consider that we're expecting a new baby in June and so I wanted the task to be both reflective of that celebration in our lives, and easy for the kids to do by themselves with a little supervision.
So, it is with excitement that we can share our 2016 12 Months of Kindness Project
(#12mokp on instagram and 12 Months of Kindness Project on facebook)
January: Create and deliver blessing bags to St. Vincent's
February: Give some love to a classroom through Donors Choose
March: volunteer time at the Johnstown Backpack Project to create weekend meal bags for local students in need
April: Purchase and deliver Baby & Mom supplies to our local YWCA
May: Select and award our 8th Studer Scholarship to CV seniors
June: Create and deliver Birthday Boxes to our local food pantry/soup kitchen
July: Host the 8th annual Studer's Invitational Beer Olympics
August: Purchase and donate needed supplies to our local Humane Society (visit with the animals!)
September: Talk with our school and donate extra school supplies and backpack for students in need
October: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF
November: participate in Giving Tuesday
December: Start the 'white envelope' gift tradition in our home
Our 12 Months of Kindness tasks listed above, are the twelve big tasks that we do for each month in the year. As I've said a million times before, it is so very important that we plan them ahead of time for each month and leave the tasks posted in a high traffic area in our home (our kitchen fridge) so that we are constantly reminded of them because the chaos and busy of life tries so hard to keep us distracted. Even with them planned out and posted, sometimes we find ourselves at the end of a particular busy month scrambling to finish a task, because life...for real, guys.
Besides our commitment to these 12 tasks, we also try to find small ways to give out generously and kindly throughout the year too as we can in our time, talents, and financially. Some of these ways include:
- we sponsor Raph from the Democratic Republic of Congo through WorldVision
- we sign up and participate in local runs/races that support a cause
- we contribute to GoFundMe requests from family and friends
- I donate blood and try to encourage my family and friends to donate too
- we deliver little messages and snacks to our mail carrier randomly
- we participate with our local Family Service Club group with their projects
- we participate with our high school alumni organization on projects that benefit the students and community
- we donate half of our trick-or-treat candy to Operation Gratitude to the troops
- we choose Christmas gifts that matter (through Oxfam America and WorldVision)
- we deliver homemade holiday cookies to our neighbors (Christmas, but sometimes for Valentines day and Halloween too)
- Above all, we strive to react with kindness and patience in all situation...with each other, our family, friends, and strangers
Are you committing to 12 Months of Kindness this year? What kinds of ways do you give back each year? Are there service projects that have worked especially well with your kids? I'm always interested in hearing about how other families incorporate giving and kindness into their life!