Flood the World with Kindness

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School can be so tough. I know I had the hardest time navigating middle school, and to be honest, up through college. It’s hard to stay true to yourself when you have so many outside forces coming your way. There are so many changes going on during these years. You are trying to figure out what you stand for, who you are, what matters to you, who you want to be in the world (not to mention all of the changes happening to you physically!). That takes a lot of energy and can be so stressful. Add in the others in your class and at school who are looking for the same, the dynamics of people wanting to fit in and look cool, and people acting out their insecurities and projecting them onto others. You can see what a mess it can all be. Looking back it’s much easier to see it clearly — but it doesn’t minimize the potential there is for hurt feelings, alienation, loneliness and betrayal through the journey. If I can impart any wisdom from my experience, it is to spread kindness whenever and however you can. No one ever got hurt from kindness. When you are kind, you never have to explain your actions. You will never look back in regret for being kind to others. Period. As the quote above says “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Please try as hard as you can not to get caught in the fray (or fight) and spread an understanding, positive approach. Be that change you wish to see in the world.

I was shown a really cool clip recently on a new comedy out, called The Duff. I can’t say whether it’s a flop or great movie, but at least it gets people talking… The Duff is a movie about an ugly acronym and inner beauty and explores how teenagers use social media to make peers feel like they’re not good enough. Leading up to the launch of the movie, the stars of the film partnered with a program called “Mean Stinks” and put on an assembly about cyber-bullying, which was watched by more than 40,000 students (a cool fact was that this was filmed at Los Al High, a local school to Long Beach, CA). Click on the following link for a short video about The Duff stars and their partnership with Mean Stinks – Today Show Video on The Duff and Mean Stinks. Also, see below for a teaser of what Mean Stinks is about. You can visit www.meanstinks.com or find them on Facebook for more information — www.facebook.com/meanstinks. I hope you check it out for some inspiration!

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Let’s step up together to flood the world with kindness!

-Alex W.

Imagine A World Without Hate

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Imagine a world WITH Dr. Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard.

Imagine a world without hate.

Some of the people in this short, yet powerful video made it their goal in life to overcome hate and prejudice and intentionally put their lives at risk, while others were just being themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid the ultimate price.

The Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

ADL works to combat hate through education and training for pre-K through university students, community groups, corporations, civic associations, religious organizations and law enforcement agencies.

-Mary S.

Don’t Just Love Yourself, Like Yourself Too!

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So we’re going to try something new today.  Today is going to be an interactive blog post, if it’s even possible for a blog post to be interactive.  But we’re going to try it anyway.  We’re going to play a game.  Go to the kitchen and get a timer, something to write with, and a piece of paper. …..

No really, do that, I’ll wait…

I promise, this blog post isn’t going anywhere, that’s the amazing thing about the internet, it’s patient.

Ok, now that you have your materials.  Set the timer for FIVE minutes.  Spend the next five minutes making a list of all the things you like about yourself.  Try to be specific.  Don’t just say you are beautiful, but instead list out the things that make you beautiful.  Do you like your eyes? Your nose? Your hair? Think about what you’re good at doing.  What do you like about yourself that makes you good at those things?  Are you caring?  Good at sharing?

Whatever you do, don’t stop.  Keep writing for the entire five minutes.

READY……SET……GO……

How did you do?  It was hard wasn’t it?  Why is that?  Why is it so difficult to say nice things about ourselves?  As you’ve seen in the previous few blog posts, we’ve been very busy taking this message out into the community. We’ve learned, it’s not just hard for you and I to do this, but it’s hard for everyone at all ages.  Even adults have a hard time with this.  It’s hard because it’s a skill we don’t practice.  We get so used to taking the view of the world as the true view of ourselves that we forget to create our own view of who we are.  When we don’t have our own view, it is much more difficult to stand up against bullies.  If we aren’t self-assured, it is much more difficult to just walk away.  If we aren’t confident in ourselves, it’s even more difficult to stand up for our friends.  When we have to do a task that’s difficult or new and we don’t get it right on the first time, if we don’t have a positive view of who we are, it becomes much more difficult to keep going back and trying again.  Knowing all the good things about ourselves provides us a vast tank of positive self-esteem to help us fight against the negative thoughts and negative people the world throws at us.

Adults always say that we should have good self-esteem, but rarely does anyone teach us how to get good self-esteem.  It can be a learned skill.  Maybe you could only write down 8 things in that entire five minutes, that’s ok!  That’s 8 great things about you.  Keep practicing.  I bet as you go through the day today, you’ll think of more things that you should have said.  So try this exercise again tomorrow, and then the day after that, and the day after that too!  Once you can think of so many things that you can’t write it down fast enough, don’t stop playing the game, let the game grow!  Add a new rule, maybe you can’t say anything today that you said yesterday.  Use your imagination.  There is no limit.

We’d like to know how you did.  Leave a comment down below to let us know.  Was it hard?  Did you ask a friend to help you?

Let us give you the first one.  We think you are tough just because you tried this game.  It’s not easy to participate in an interactive blog, especially when it gets so personal so fast!

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(Above is a sample of a self-esteem flower we created at a recent community event. We cut out flower petals and challenged all girls and instructors to fill up the flower with things they like about themselves… what would your flower be filled with?)

-Jennifer S.

We’ll See you this Saturday at the 10th Annual Kids in the Kitchen!

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The Junior League of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach program, will host its 10TH ANNUAL KIDS IN THE KITCHEN healthy eating and exercise fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2015! Don’t miss this fun and educational event at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

Building on the success of previous years, we expect about 1,500 children and their families to attend and enjoy more than 30 interactive and informational booths related to health, fitness and nutritious food. In honor of National Nutrition Month, there will be professional chefs giving away snacks, young performers providing live entertainment, a mobile unit on site for free health screenings, fitness demonstrations, hands-on activities and more at this FREE event.

Special thanks goes to Nordstrom for supporting Kids in the Kitchen with a grant this year! We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this event a Long Beach tradition for the past 10 years.

See you this Saturday!!!

March 7, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach

Visit jllb.org for more information. No need to RSVP for this event!

Click on the link below for a video from last year’s event.