As my friends and family know, I have had the honor of being a Channel Kindness Reporter over the past year. During this time, I have been lucky enough to be provided with a platform for which I can share other people’s stories as well as my own, and it has been something I never thought I would have.
I applied for this opportunity in November 2017 after having heard of it through Twitter and knowing about this branch of Born This Way Foundation through the Channel Kindness Awards last year. In January, I was flown to New York where I met some of the most amazing people that I hope I have the opportunity to continue to know. This was the first time I had gone across the country without knowing anyone, and it was such a memorable experience filled with lots of food (because food is great, and I had a lot of candy), new experiences, and new friends.
My job as a Reporter was to find people or organizations that are spreading kindness and to reflect their kind acts in the form of stories. The first story I wrote was about Julie Moberg, who was actually a teacher I had during my senior year of high school last year. She is one of the sweetest people I know, and it was so great to be able to shine a light on the work she has done around the school and in the community. It was so nice to be able to get to know her better. My second story was autobiographical because May was Mental Health Awareness Month. This personal story has a special place in my heart because I was able to share my story in a way I had never felt comfortable doing before, and it was a liberating experience that actually made me feel a little bit better about myself.
The staff at Born This Way and Channel Kindness are also incredibly caring and understanding. Going into this, I was terrified about coming up with stories and articles because I thought that the deadlines would reduce the quality of my work. This wasn’t true in the slightest bit. Everyone is super helpful, and the Foundation’s Junior Editor Aysha specifically has helped me in improving my writing, which is extremely valuable now because college essays are a real thing. Over the summer, I also had some personal things happen which prevented me from being able to write recently, which in turn caused my five-month hiatus. Both Aysha and Alex, the Foundation’s Program Manager, were extremely understanding and supported me through it which I really appreciate.
Through this program, I feel like I have become a kinder person as well. Kindness is something that is so important but can sometimes be overlooked. In many cases, even just smiling at someone can make their day, and I have found that being kind isn’t hard, but it goes such a long way, especially for those going through a rough time. You never know what someone has experienced, so it is better to be kind to them rather than make judgments. Born This Way has taught me that there are more ways to be kind than I had originally thought, and that is a message that I hope I can spread to others.
Channel Kindness is now doing Challenges, which are really fun to participate in. My favorite so far has been #BeKind21 because, as I learned in my psychology class a couple of years ago, building a habit takes 21 days and the objective of this challenge was to do a kind act or acts each day. I noticed too that sometimes people can do kind things and not even realize it, so it was really enjoyable to see myself and others being kind to each other. I really do think that these challenges are so much fun, and I hope that more and more people participate in them.
My time as a Channel Kindness Reporter has given me so many wonderful life lessons and skills that I will continue to use for the rest of my life. I hope more people continue to catch onto the idea that kindness really is the key to happiness for yourself but also for that of others. I’m not going to lie, this will be very hard to let go of, but I will always remember everything I have gotten from this experience, and I will continue to do my best at promoting kindness in the years ahead. I really wouldn’t trade it for anything.