Your Ripple Effect

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
Maya Angelou

You are already changing the world.

Whether you realize it or not, your actions are making a difference. Every single day.

Everything we do creates a ripple effect. And that effect can be very powerful. Especially if we act out of kindness.

That got me thinking. These days almost everyone seems to have a bucket list. Things they want to do before they kick the proverbial bucket. I get that. Life is short.  I have a bucket list. Mine includes learning Italian, taking a family trip to Ireland, and losing that last ten pounds (again.) My list – like most people’s – is about what I want for myself, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I love that a bucket list is about the adventure of living. But what if it was something more? What if a bucket list was about the adventure of giving?

You know? A bucket list. With a twist.

The twist? It’s about giving back. About bringing together an online community of everyday people with the intention of changing the world for the better. Creating a movement with simple acts of kindness, big and small.

The reality is, every life comes with an expiration date. I believe every life also comes with a purpose.

Each of you can create a powerful ripple effect. And the ripple effect is two fold. Not only are you helping the recipient of your kindness, but you’re also inspiring the rest of us.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”
Robert F. Kennedy

Here’s how it works:

Step 1:  Sign up below. Your last name and email address will not be shown.

Step 2: Add one or two things to the shared list below. Things you truly intend to do to change the world for the better. Why just a few things? Because this list isn’t meant to make anyone feel overwhelmed. Think of it as a formula: Intention + kindness + sharing = powerful change

Step 3: Set a time limit. Is this something you’re going to do this week, this month, or this year? Don’t leave it open ended. If your intention is to do something big, then get there little by little every day by taking specific concrete actions.  Make a phone call. Visit a web site related to what you intend to do. Tell a friend. If it’s something you can do this week, set it in motion today. Start now.

Join our movement! Let’s create a community of people making a difference in the world. Be a world-changer. Create your own ripple effect.

Sign up to be a part of Your Ripple Effect by filling out the contact form below:

(From Mary: I’m so grateful for all the wonderful ways you are creating Your Ripple Effect! BTW, once you make a comment, it should appear in the community list below within 30 minutes.)

Some ideas:  Volunteer to become a Big Brother or Big Sister in your area www.bbbs.org/

Give your time to support those serving in the military and their families (http://iparticipateusa.org)

Or combine that dream vacation on your existing bucket list with a volunteer opportunity.  http://flyforgood.com/

http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/national/service.aspx

http://www.handsupholidays.com/

See what the community has said so far…

I  will volunteer with seniors. - Steven R.

I will donate time or money to a local food bank. I will do this by the end of the year. Also, instead of Christmas gifts I have asked to receive a donation to the Northern Ill. Food Bank and my family will also donate $30 to feed a family in need this holiday season. Lastly, I will take my son shopping to buy a Christmas present for a child in need. It was great hearing you on the radio this morning. I feel really inspired to help others. – Jenny K.

Thank you for providing such a wonderful book and promoting the concept of the ripple effect.  I am slowly but steadily making ripples in the lives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. I am going to donate a copy of my book Diagnosis: Breast Cancer – The Best Action Plan for Navigating Your Journey, to a local mammography center. I truly believe in paying it forward. - Cara N.B. (Note – I added the link to the book above. – Mary)

I’m going to help rescue at least one homeless and/or abused and/or neglected dog in my community. - JC

Once a week, I’d like to initiate an anonymous random act of kindness – to be more aware of those who could use a little bit of attention/support. This month, I’ll find a good home for all the books I’m amassing. – Kathleen B.

My mission is to make a difference in the lives of people I might never have a chance to actually meet. I created Word of Mom Radio to celebrate and empower MOMpreneurs – amazing women, working from home, and finding that balance between building a business and raising a family. - Dori D.

I joined a social action committee in my community and will lead a donations drive for people living in poverty through the nonprofit organization, A Wider Circle. – Shari B.

I am going to put together a basket for a silent auction to benefit the Hope Junior program at Marillac House on Chicago’s West Side. Hope Junior offers children and teens high-quality after-school program activities and opportunities during non-school hours. The goal of Hope Junior is to provide youth with positive experiences at a young age that will translate into positive choices in the future. - Liz W.

I am going to host a baby shower for single young moms that are working to create a positive healthy life for their babies. - Mary N.

I am volunteering more at my kids’ schools and scouting organizations. My daughter has started volunteering to help at our local park district stables. She loves horses and volunteering to help care for them and run programs. -Sue K.

Education is power. I joined an organization called Step Up to help female teens who are facing difficult circumstances. The program helps empower these young women by helping them get into college and follow their dreams. -Elizabeth L.

I’ve just signed up to tutor at-risk kids in a local Chicago public school. - Allyson W.

I am inviting a family of 4 to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia to hear the world premier of “Can you Hear God Crying” with Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. The two children have never seen a classical concert live before. They will come back stage to meet the composer and cast to take pictures and receive an autographed page of music. – Rod D.

My ripple started a while ago and I am still seeing the effect. My husband and I became foster parents about 2 years ago. Many of our friends and neighbors wanted to be involved somehow but weren’t up to a full commitment of having a child in their home. I explained to them the many ways they can wrap their arms around foster families. When a new child comes into the home it is a blessing to have a meal delivered. Babysitting so the foster parents can have “date night” is also a meaningful gesture. We now have lots of people in our community making dinners and helping out with childcare and, in essence, providing an extended family of sorts. It’s a wonderful experience for everyone and really goes to show that it does take a village! – Michele J.

My martial arts school has free classes for psychologically challenged children. I will volunteer to teach a class this week. – Eli C.

I am inspired to cause a ripple effect in my family & friends circle by committing to writing one thank you/thinking of you note per night to someone deserving of this gesture. Thanks for launching this great concept! - Kathy O.

I want to help others laugh.  My goal is to do my part to heal the human spirit. - Jim O.

I will donate $20 of food to the local pantry. - Melissa P.

Teach children in my neighborhood to communicate and negotiate respectfully through using the phrase, “What could I have instead?” – Melissa P.

I’m going to get involved on the leadership team for my sons’ Cub Scout organization, even though I am not outdoorsy! I’ll see if we can’t build a strong group that will benefit lots of kids. – Laura T.

Donate some time to a writing program for at risk kids. – Clare O.

At least once a week, I will call someone that I haven’t seen or talked to for a long time, and set a time to visit. - Mary Jo O.

I will organize a book drive at my school and donate them to a women’s prison. It just might help to make a visit with their children more “normal”. – Margaret S.

Although I work with others daily that worry about their next meal and shelter, I come home at night and have a hard time finding strength to focus on my children. I know I’ve been blessed although we struggle as others do, but I need to continue to keep in mind that their future and well-being is counting on me as well. - Mary Pat P.

When I travel internationally I try to bring items that can enhance a community or help a family. Whether it’s donating soccer balls to schools in Kenya or bringing socks for local families or pencils and candy to give to children, I want to inspire others to give as they seek their adventure. Everybody can make a difference in someone’s life. – Sari R.

My project is to ensure that 130 less fortunate people have a couple “from scratch made with love cookies” for dessert on an upcoming Thursday night. Not far from where I live, they dine to a warm meal, and each week, they are in need of dessert. I’ll make 22 dozen cookies and may they enjoy every bite! The first step here, however, is to organize my home. Because I’m not there much, it isn’t as neat as I’d like it to be; there is paper to shred for recycling and random items cluttering the table and counter. If those spaces were to be cleared, there could be places for chocolate cookies to cool and my neighbors could even come over for cookies and hugs. Since I will have addressed the clutter, I won’t be mortified, like I would be if there was a knock at the door tonight. – Trisha H. 

I am on the foundation board of directors for the Central Indiana Coalition on Aging. I already participate in all their extra curricular activities. But I also donate $400/year specifically to the Meals ‘n’ More program for seniors. It is a worthwhile cause and have seen the results first hand. I went on a ride-along with one of the meal drivers. She was able to figure out one of her regulars was not answering her door and should have. the building maintenance man let us in to find out she had fallen overnight and needed the ambulance to take her to the hospital. They kept her overnight for observation, fluids and two meals. - Mark F. 

My intention is to perform at least one act of kindness for another person per day. So far, I’m way ahead and I hope the ripples are happening. – Linda P