Dr. Kloeppel Encourages us all to Pay it Forward
(The following op-ed recently ran in both the Albuquerque Journal and The Daily Lobo)
This year, why not make your January New Year’s resolution in February—to be kind, respectful, and grateful? Why not focus on positive experiences rather than the negative ones we see each day? I am always pleased when I see the media featuring stories on good deeds and spreading kindness, and just imagine the “confetti kindness” we could spread if we each did a kind act every day.
It’s a great opportunity to pay it forward and let the kind acts overpower the negative ones. I was very inspired by the Journal’s Spirit of New Mexico awards. So many passionate and dedicated people were honored for their service and efforts to make our community a better place. Kudos to the nonprofit organizations and individuals who devote their time, energy and money to make our community a better place to live and raise our children.
Kindness includes taking time each day to be spontaneous and engage in random acts that can change the world in some small way. Give someone a smile, a compliment, or offer words of encouragement. Connect with a friend, or stranger, to offer support. Say “thank you” to a veteran, first responder or elected official. Send a “thanks for a job well done” card to a coworker. Volunteer or donate to the food bank or your favorite nonprofit organization.
The BeKind UNM team at The University of New Mexico made up of students, staff, community members, and faculty, is doing its part by promoting kindness through civility, respect and safety. The team promotes kindness all year but puts the majority of its effort on several free, fun events during Random Acts of Kindness Week each year in February.
Let’s strengthen the community through what we do and how we treat people. Let’s all make a difference and make time for kindness!
“In a world where you can be anything, be Kind” ― Jennifer Dukes Lee
~Kim Kloeppel, Ph.D., Chair of the UNM BeKind Team
Celebrate Kindness with Us!
The 2019 celebration promises to be a fun one! We have a week full of events including the Kindness Carnival, Lobo Basketball games, the Teddy Bear Drive for APD and AFR, and the Fill It Forward/Coffee with a Badge event. This year, the Kindness Carnival will once again feature the Teddy Bear Toss which is your opportunity to make the difference in the life of a child and win some fabulous prizes in the process! The Teddy Bear Toss will be held during the Kindness Carnival beginning at 11:30 a.m.
For the 10th year, the Division of Student Affairs is partnering with the UNM BeKind Committee which includes members of UNM staff, students and the community to celebrate and promote random acts of kindness Feb. 11-15.
The Kindness Carnival featuring a teddy bear toss where you can make a donation and win prizes at the same time; games and goodies will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UNM Student Union Building. In addition to the carnival, several of the past events are still planned and goodies are still available including Be Kind. Be Courteous. Get Home Safe. car magnets, BeKind UNM buttons, candy, and an opportunity to create a kindness card for someone.
This year, as in years past we are also partnering with Nusenda Credit Union and UNM campus departments to host a teddy bear drive which runs from Feb. 4-15 to benefit the Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue. Additionally, both Satellite Coffee and Nusenda Credit Union locations in the UNM Student Union Building will be hosting a Fill It Forward event where students can receive a free cup of coffee and help fill a donation jar to benefit the UNM Lobo Food Pantry.
Teddy Bear Drive to Benefit APD and ABQ Fire and Rescue
For the past several years, the BeKind UNM initiative has collected teddy bears to benefit the Albuquerque Police Department. Last year, over 300 bears were delivered to APD for officers to keep in their patrol cars. The officers are able to use the bears to help comfort a child who may be in a traumatic situation. This year we will be donating all collected bears to both the Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue.
BeKind Team Delivers Bears to APD
Members of the BeKind UNM committee and the Lobo men’s basketball team delivered teddy bears and other toys to Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier and area commanders last week as part of the BeKind UNM initiative. The bears will be kept in APD patrol cars to be given to children in traumatic situations to help ease some of the stress.
The bears are used throughout the year on patrols and calls and also put in gift baskets for families at Christmas time. Geier says that officers on calls involving children are able to go out to their cars and come back to the family with bears and toys—making a lasting memory for that family.The teddy bears and other toys were collected during events held on The University of New Mexico campus and at Lobo basketball games during the month of February. All tolled, over 300 bears and other toys were donated.“The teddy bear drive is a great way to give back to the community through kindness,” said Kim Kloeppel, chief operations officer, UNM Division of Student Affairs, and BeKind UNM committee chair. “We are proud to help the Albuquerque Police Department to make a positive impact on even more kids.”For more information on the BeKindUNM initiative visit their website and facebook pages.
Be Kind. Be Courteous. Get Home Safe. Car Magnets
The car magnets and stickers are FREE and available for pick in the UNM Student Affairs office, located on the UNM main campus, Scholes Hall, Room 229 (1800 Roma NE), or you can call 505-277-0952 or email email@example.com and request one be sent to you.
25 Simple Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
- Send someone a hand written note of thanks.
- Make a card at home and send it to a friend.
- Adopt a stray animal.
- Put some coins in another student’s parking meter.
- Buy a coffee for a student or co-worker.
- Walk your friend’s dog.
- Give a compliment about your server to their manager.
- Volunteer at a shelter.
- Give Blood.
- Mentor a child.
- Treat a friend to a mid-week movies.
- Give a huge tip to someone when they least expect it.
- Hold the elevator door open for someone on the shuttle.
- Give up your seat for someone.
- Talk to a homeless person and have a “normal” conversation.
- Pick up some trash around campus.
- Compliment a co-worker for their excellence.
- Babysit for a friend.
- Give another driver your parking spot.
- Donate to charity.
- Tell all your co-workers how much you appreciate them.
- Buy an inspirational book for a friend.
- Let someone go ahead of you in line at the SUB eateries.
- Do something nice for yourself.
- Smile a lot.
Health benefits of being kind
Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some key points:
- Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
- A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body's natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
- Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc. A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
- Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.
- A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain can occur.
- The incidence of attitudes, eg, chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body, is reduced.
- The health benefits and sense of well-being return for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.
- An increased sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism, as well as a decrease in feelings of helplessness and depression, is achieved.
- Once we establish an “affiliative connection” with someone—a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding—we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.
- Adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of mental health.
- The practice of caring for strangers translates to immense immune and healing benefits.
- Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income.
Stories of Kindness
Last year a few of you shared your stories of kindness with us. We would love to hear some more! Please email your story to Dorene DiNaro at firstname.lastname@example.org and look for them on this page at a later date!
Submitted by Dorene DiNaro
It has been all too common lately to hear stories portraying the Albuquerque Police Department in a less than favorable light. Therefore, I wanted to share a very positive experience I recently had with an Albuquerque Police Officer—a random act of kindness by a wonderful person made a little boy’s day and wanted nothing in return. To me, the following picture speaks for itself, but here is the story anyway.
My husband, our 3-year-old son and I were out for a walk with our dogs yesterday afternoon in our Albuquerque South Valley neighborhood. We saw a police officer who was out on a regular neighborhood patrol going in the opposite direction. My son pointed to the car and said to me, “Mama, there’s a wee-eww car!” He calls police cars “wee-eww” cars because that’s the sound their sirens make. The officer must have seen my son’s excitement and so he turned his car around so that he could pull up next to us.
The officer (whose name I didn’t get) rolled down his window and said to my husband and I, “I think I have some toys in here,” and proceeded to get out of his car with a bag full of toys. As you can see by the look on my son’s face, this was a wonderful experience for him and he gave the officer a big hug. Such a small act of kindness made my son’s day.
I think the world would be a far greater place, if we each made even the smallest effort to make someone else smile!
Dog Lover Gives Pooch A Good Home
Submitted by Heather Savage
I have always been huge dog lover and always donate to the ASPCA. I already had one 5 lb chihuahua at home, that I had had for a couple of years and was not looking for another dog. Before moving to New Mexico on one of my trips here to visit my parents, I heard about how a box of puppies had been left on their neighbors doorstep and how one of them had a broken paw that they could not afford to get fixed.Their neighbor ended up bringing the puppy over and she was the ugliest little thing you could imagine. She was skin and bones with all her ribs sticking out and was almost completely bald and had very dry skin and sores down her back, and she also had a crooked left front paw that she stood awkwardly on. She had the saddest eyes like the dogs on the ASPCA commercials, and was very fearful. As soon as I saw her I knew I had to take this poor puppy home. She rarely left my arms for the rest of my trip. I began rubbing aloe on her back and that helped with her dry skin and sores. I made arrangements to get her back to Connecticut with me. Once there I took her straight to the vet who was unable to fix her paw because it had already started healing and found out that her hair loss was from not eating regularly and would grow back once she was eating properly. She immediately took to my other chihuahua and loves having a big sister. She has never missed a meal again and her coat has come in a beautiful tan with a red stripe down the middle of her back and tail. She hasn't gotten any bigger than 3.5lbs and still has a crooked little paw but runs just fine. Her crooked little leg makes her look like a bull dog when she is standing there trying to look tough. She gives me kisses every night before we go to bed and shows me in some way almost every day how grateful she is to have a home. Rescue dogs are very special dogs. Unlike my older dog who has never known what it is like to be hungry, rescue dogs are grateful for any kindness and trust me they show it.
Paramedic Helps Patient in Need
I try to live by this rule as much as possible; what goes around, comes around. Leaving a nickel in the water bottle machine may help out the next person who is a nickel short, which we all know is a bummer. My biggest random acts have come from medicine. I became an paramedic so I could help others in need, in their worst moments. Lying on a steel gurney is a scary place to be, when people cannot, or refuse, to see you. One case sticks out from the others, in regards to this topic. During my ambulance time, I responded to a call in which a woman had hurt herself. Upon arriving on scene, I assessed the situation, and sent the crew to the hallway. My patient and I talked; I encouraged her to clean the bleeding wounds she had, then I bandaged them for her. I rode to UNMH with the transporting crew - I knew that ride would be about the last 20 normal minutes she would have for a while. We had a very easy going conversation, and when we arrived at the hospital, I stayed until she checked in. On the way out, she placed a hand on my shoulder, looked at me, and said thank you. Pay it forward, the golden rule, whatever you want to call it. Those who are strong have an obligation to help the weak.
A Pair of Gloves Makes a Big Difference
I stopped at Circle K one morning to get a soda and overheard a gentleman talking to the cashier (and I eventually got involved in the conversation). He said he stays at a shelter but they have to be out by a certain time each morning. He said he was standing outside a business after leaving the shelter a few days earlier and a man came up and started talking to him. He told the man about staying in the shelter and having to be out by a certain time each morning and that he didn't have gloves and his hands were so cold. The man opened the store and told him to follow him and took him to where the gloves were. He told him that he was the manager of the store and told him to pick out any pair he wanted. He said he picked out a pair of gloves and his hands are now warm when he is out in the cold. As we all talked he said how grateful he was to that manager. A pair of gloves seem like such a small thing, but to that gentleman it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him.
Food Warms the Heart
Submitted by Rachel Stone
Stefanie Rotunno is a person in my office who is always willing to listen to my stories and give advice. We were talking about cooking the other day, and I told her that I can NEVER get my pinto beans to turn out right. They are either to bland or too firm; I had given up. She then proclaimed that she makes THE best beans ever! She briefly told me what she does to make her beans sublime and I made a mental note. A couple of days later, Stefanie brought me some of her fantastic beans!!! And she was right, they were great! What a nice thing to do because that afternoon, I did not need to wonder what to have for lunch. Thank you, Stefanie!