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By Step2 on May 16th, 2013 | Posted in Thoughtful Thursday
In 2009, SPPRAK (special people performing random acts of kindness), a nonprofit organization was launched by Kim Grubb, Robin Heng, and Susan Short. SPPRAK’S mission is to encourage acts of kindness that make a difference in the lives of others. In February 2013, SPPRAK received permission to place banners inside schools, encouraging students to write on sticky notes when their classmates and teachers performed a random act of kindness for them. A first grade teacher in Terre Haute, Indiana, where SPPRAK banners were placed, asked her students to write down each act of kindness that their classmates and teachers did for them. This was only meant to be a two week program but due to its popularity it has become a long term program that has become popular in other local schools and even at many high schools. American comic strip creator and author Scott Adams once said, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” This quote is true for the students partaking in SPPARK; they are proving that kindness is contagious. This Thoughtful Thursday, we thank SPPARK for teaching children at a young age how to be kind to others.
“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others,” said Classical Greek Philosopher, Plato. This quote describes, ten year old, NaSeaph Williams perfectly. NaSeaph is battling Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, a rare genetic condition that weakens his heart, muscles, and lungs. He is unable to walk and is prone to seizures.
NaSaeph’s mother describes her son as a giving person that always wants to make others happy. During Christmas, NaSeaph used $60 that he was given to buy toys for children at the Saratoga Spring, Florida homeless shelter.
Laurel McAdoo, founder of Myles of Smyles, and Erin Musto, founder of Maddie’s Mark, met NaSeaph at a charity event put on by the Starlight Children’s Foundation on March 29th . When Laurel and Erin found out that NaSeaph’s birthday was in a few weeks, they asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to have a party and for everyone who comes to his party to bring canned goods to donate to the food pantry. The reason why he wanted to donate food to the hungry for his birthday was because he was appreciative for the help that he and his mother received from others during his life.
Although NaSaeph does not want anything in particular for his birthday, he has four wishes; he wants a wheelchair van to help get him to his doctor visits, meet Tom Brady from the New England Patriots, meet Jon Cena from WWE, and to be free from pain. NaSeaph wants to continue to give back for the kindness he has received. When he was asked what makes him so nice, he said it was his mother.
An unknown author once said “kindness and honesty can only be expected from the strong.” NaSaeph is an incredibly strong young man who will keep fighting for himself and others. This Thoughtful Thursday, we honor his willingness to give to others and pray someday that there is a cure for his rare disease.
When thirteen year old Michael Stolzenberg was eight years old, he had to have his hands and feet surgically removed in order to save his life from a skin infection which then became a bacterial infection. Michael was a star athlete before he had his limbs amputated, and five years later, as a quadruple amputee, he is still an athlete. He can sympathize with what the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing that lost limbs have gone through.
After the Boston Marathon bombing, Michael and his older brother, Harris decided to create a website that supports the people who suffered amputations after the bombing. The website is called Mikeysrun.com. The goal is to raise $1 million dollars for the victims of the bombing. In addition to creating the website to raise money, Harris will also be running in the 2014 Boston Marathon. This Thoughtful Thursday is dedicated to Michael and Harris for wanting to help the amputees of Boston stay strong. Michael is an inspiration to all those who know him. He hopes to visit those wounded in Boston soon and let them know, “They’ll be OK. They just don’t know that yet.”
In 1986 it was declared by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger that April would be the month dedicated to military children. These children sacrifice a lot while their parent (or parents) serves our country. During a military child’s adolescent years, there may be frequent moves and family separation due to deployment. There have been many programs created to help military children and families with the constant changes that go on in their life. In 2004, Operation Purple began to help serve military families in the different phases of military life – deployment, reintegration, and coming together after an injury. Throughout April, schools and civilian nonprofit organizations are encouraged to set aside a day or days during April to recognize these extraordinary children for their hard work and courage. We salute these brave children this Thoughtful Thursday for their resilience and strength.
Visit MilitaryFamily.org for more information.
Inspiration to create and act for a great cause can come from anywhere; this Thoughtful Thursday we honor, Robyn Rosenberger whose inspiration was children fighting illnesses. One day Seattle mom, Robyn Rosenberger was making a superhero cape for her son when she came across the blog Blessed by Brenna, written by one of the Step2 Test Driver Bloggers Courtney Westlake. . Robyn was inspired and touched by Brenna’s struggles. Brenna was born with a rare and severe skin disease called Harlequin Ichthyosis. Brenna beat an aggressive blood infection and at only three weeks old had to undergo eye surgery.
When Robyn reached out to Courtney, she was thrilled and told Robyn how Brenna has “been a superhero ever since she was born.” This began the creation of TinySuperheroes. Within two months, Robyn helped empower more than one hundred children who are fighting severe illnesses.
Brenna, along with all of the TinySuperhoes, embodies the true definition of a superhero. There is a hero in all of us and these children prove to be the greatest heroes of all. May they always know how powerful they are!
This Thoughtful Thursday segment is honoring Jack Hoffman, a seven year old that was diagnosed with brain cancer at age five. As Jack went through his surgeries, Andy, Jack’s father, wanted to do something special for his son. Andy inquired about Rex Burkhead from the Nebraska Huskers meeting Jack. This was Jack’s favorite football team and player. Jack got to meet Rex before he had his second surgery. During their time together, Rex received a special present from Jack, which was a red wristband that read “Pray for Jack.” That wristband was inspiration for Rex and the Huskers, especially during their big game against Ohio State.
Almost a year and a half later, Jack was invited to play with the Huskers during the fourth quarter of a spring game. Jack wore the #22 jersey, which was Rex’s number. Jack ran sixty-nine yards downfield for a touchdown. Richard E. Grant, actor, screenwriter, and director once said “Never give up. You only get one life. Go for it.” This story proves that Jack is not giving up and he is inspiring the world around him to do the same. Thanks for providing all of us with hope, Jack!