Sunday, January 5, 2014

2k14: k4k Retrospections

Exactly one year ago on this day, this project was merely an idea in my head. I’m proud to say today that fifty two weeks, ergo, fifty two random acts of kindness (and unlimited amounts of good vibes) later, I have reached my goal. Here are my thoughts on the experience.

I started the Kindness for Karma year-long project for many reasons. The first and main one was of course to accomplish the actual acts in order to bring a little extra joy in some people’s lives. Seeing the reactions of my “victims” were always fun and encouraging, but I also liked the element of surprise behind it, which is why most of them were done anonymously. To receive something unexpectedly usually has more value or a very different kind of impact as when it is expected. It makes me happy to think that I was able to contribute to that effect, even in the simplest ways. 

The Pay It Forward ripple effect was the project’s by-product, which was also something I was very interested to see unfold. I have come across some amazing people who have been not only saying that it had brought positivity in their lives, but also just plain awareness. Then I have had people who have been thoroughly inspired and have voluntarily jumped knee-deep into it with me. For this, I have a couple of special thanks to give. One goes out to Maxime Nicholas, who, for the last eight weeks, has been also doing one act of kindness per week and posted everything on Instagram and Facebook to share with her friends and family. Another special person who has been extremely involved is my friend Véronique Sylvain. She has been suggesting ideas since day 1 and I have her to thank for continuously motivating me. Marianne Denis, Sébastien St-Amour, Ashly Dick and the kind folks in my building are also amongst the other people who have actively helped me complete my project. Thank you as well to everyone else who’s been supportive, with my mom being my number one supporter and friend.

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.”
- Eric Hoffer 

On a personal level, I wanted to see how the project would affect me and me in relation to the world. Sure enough, within the first couple of weeks, I started to see a transformation in myself. By being aware of Kindness and its effects, I felt like I was progressively becoming naturally more kind to others. I felt more relaxed, accepting and patient with my peers and most of the time, I would get those same reactions in return. I also noticed that even if I had pre-written my fifty two acts, I ditched some ideas as I found bigger and better ones as the weeks progressed by exposing myself to positive energy. This was a great growing experience and has taught me things that will probably stick with me for a long time to come.  

On a more technical side, the k4k project allowed me to get creative with my outputs and to use Social Media to my advantage, which, as a Communications Minor, was a very interesting domain to play with. I had fun with my Facebook and Instagram as I was able to share my project with my close friends and family and get instant feedback. I used Twitter to get in contact with external folks, such as Pay It Forward Saint John’s, who were the people who inspired me in the first place. I met up with one of the heads of the Organization, Nicole Paquet while she was in Ottawa on a business trip and we shared a ton of great ideas. We have been in touch throughout the whole year and they have shared my story to many, including doing an email blast to Xerox employees, a company with whom they have been working. Thanks to them, I also had the opportunity to have a Skype call with some students from River Valley Middle School, a middle school in New Brunswick who are also affiliated with PIFSJ and extremely dedicated to their initiative. Two radio interviews also came out of using these tools; one directed by a journalism student, Nicole Vair, from Fredericton University and another with Charlotte Bédard from Vague FM 88.1 in Penetanguishene. As for this blog, I found pleasure in seeing my numbers grow every week. My final statistics as of today are the following:  

Just for Fun

The top three highest page views are the following:
1. Week Nineteen: Mother’s Day Card by Mail.  
– 86 page views
2. Tie - Week Four: Wool Socks for a Homeless Person. 
– 54 page views
Tie - Week Five: Scholarship Reference Letter for a Former Katimavik Volunteer. 
 54 page views
3. Week Eleven: Timmies Freebies for a Stranger. 
– 50 page views

To sum everything up, this past year has been a great journey which has taught me a lot about kindness, myself and even human nature. As you have guessed, yes, I will sign off with one last cheesy quote. As William John Bennett said, “A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward” and I couldn’t agree more.

Have a great 2k14.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week Fifty Two: Leaving Christmas Goodies at a Tim Hortons and a Local Restaurant.

Well, this is it pals. My very last post. 

For my last week, I decided to fill a stocking full of candy canes, hot chocolate packages, jujubes, wafers, etc. when I was home for the holidays. I then drove out to a Tim Hortons closest to my hometown, which is in Sturgeon-Falls, to have a coffee with my brother and to leave the stocking and a card on a table. 

Instagram: @geneseguin. #k4kproject

Not long after I put it down, an employee who was washing the tables came across the stocking and thought someone had accidently forgot it behind. She brought it behind the counter and opened the unsealed envelope and read the card out loud to her coworker. The card said: “I hope you enjoy every delight in this stocking as well as every other that will present itself to you in the New Year. Happy and Safe Holidays to you and your loved ones.” They both immediately sported a sheer look of glee on their faces and they shared a laugh.  

I can’t however take the credit for this idea as it wasn’t mine. Véronique, a friend of mine who has been nothing but supportive throughout the length of this project, not only suggested doing this but also took a part in it. She bought a treat, wrote a note and left it at Brasseurs des temps, a local brewery/restaurant in Hull, for someone else to stumble upon it.

It’s unbelievable how incredible some people are. Thank you Véronique for being wonderful. 

Alas, this wraps up my year long project. I am very happy to say that I have successfully carried this through until the very end. It feels great to have accomplished this commitment that I took upon myself and in result, to witness the positive reactions and incredible support. I’d like to thank everyone who has commented, reached out to help, suggested or simply “liked” my posts throughout the year. This, amongst other reasons, acted as the best kind of encouragement to keep me going. So thank you all. 

To read my overall thoughts on the project, click here.

Thanks for reading, you’re all pretty darn great. 
Have a wonderful 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Week Fifty One: Wrapping Presents with the BIA to Raise Money for the Local Food Bank.

This year, I had a bit of trouble to get into the spirit of the holidays. I’ve been busy and didn’t do much shopping since my brothers took care of most of it - which also means little to no present wrapping, which I really enjoy doing and gets me very much into Christmas. So I figured I’d lend a hand to my local BIA, (the Bank Street BIA), whom I saw were organizing a present wrapping station and accepting donations for the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. Two birds one stone, I thought!

Instagram: @geneseguin. #k4kproject

They also had a food donation box as well as a clothing drop-off, which I found perfect since I could drop off the food donations I collected from the people in my apartment building in October. 

Overall, it proven to be a really fun time; I got to meet some great people and am now feeling the Christmas cheer a bit more!

Now next week will be the last act of kindness for my project. I can't believe it's already been a year since I started... It's been a good one. 
Stay tuned for week fifty two!  


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Week Fifty: Sending a Gift Card to the Local Fire Fighters.

As a way to thank the local men and women who puts everything on the line for the sake of everyone’s safety, I decided to send these selfless people a gift certificate for a coffee shop. Every day, these fire fighters come into work not knowing what to expect of their day, so this is my way to restore a little bit of normal in their lives – and what better way to do this over a coffee with some coworkers? 

Instagram: @geneseguin. #k4kproject

Here’s to wishing them a happy and safe holiday and an even safer new year.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Week Forty Nine: Surprise Shoveling a Neighbour’s Entrance While No One’s Home.

Shoveling sucks.

Everyone hates it. It’s the last thing you want to do after seeing 5 feet of snow accumulate on your front porch. Nope – I’ll tell you what you want to do. You want to curl up in a ball in front of a fire or some sort of artificial heat next to your feline friends and only wake up when spring starts to show its dewy and warm face again. I get it.

This is why I thought it would be nice to do one of my neighbours a favour. After a massive snowfall this week, I decided to grab a shovel, go over to my neighbour’s yard and shovel their entrance while they were away. I thought it might be a nice surprise for them to come home to.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week Forty Eight: Leaving Change at a Food Vending Machine.

There’s nothing worse than having a snack attack and having no change to buy anything at the vending machine closest to you. This week, I decided to take some change, put it in an envelope and then tape it on a vending machine.

Instagram: @geneseguin. #k4kproject

Being Hangry is not a favourable state, so knowing that there might have one less snack attack in the world makes me happy.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week Forty Seven: Sprinkling Salt on a Patch of Ice at a Bus Stop.

I was out on a stroll the other day and I noticed that the sidewalk conditions were less than favourable for walking enjoyment. Then when I turned around, I saw someone fall on an icy patch on their way to catch the bus. This is when I decided to get some salt and lay it around the exact bus stop at which this person fell.

Instagram: @geneseguin. #k4kproject

Hopefully this reduced the amount of dangerous tumbles at this high traffic area, or at least preventing rips in a pair of jeans or two.