Cups of Kindness

There may be thousands of Starbucks across the country, but Born This Way Foundation – with its powerful message that a kinder, braver world is possible – is not so well known. That’s why I’m so excited that Born This Way Foundation and Starbucks have partnered to create the Cups of Kindness Collection – four amazing, beautiful, and delicious drinks – to help raise money to support the Foundation’s programs, like Channel Kindness.

The campaign is doing more than just raising money for a good cause, however. It’s helping to spread an important message. In the words of Maya Enista Smith, the Executive Director of the Foundation, “The words that you see every day matter; the ones on signs as you cross the street, on menus as you order your coffee and on Saturday morning adventures that you have with your kids. If there is one word I want to see more of in this world, it’s kindness and I’m glad that thousands of stores around the world will have kindness on the menu today and showcase the incredible talent of their baristas.”

This partnership is very close to my heart and personal to me because I myself am a Starbucks barista and working at Starbucks for that past year has made me connect with my customers beyond just making their coffee. I have created relationships with them where they care about my well being and I care for theirs.

I’ve also witnessed firsthand Starbucks loyal fan base. When they introduce a new product the response is always amazing and the Cups of Kindness Collection has been no different! I’m so excited that my Starbucks is participating – it makes me feel more connected to this campaign and it means that for every drink we make, we can put in a little extra love and make it just that much more special.

Each day that the drinks are here at my Starbucks, my fellow baristas and I are dressing in different colors of the rainbow to make it like a party and to have fun with the campaign. Pink on Monday, red on Tuesday, green on Wednesday, purple on Thursday, blue on Friday, yellow on Saturday, and orange on Sunday. Every time I mentioned the Cups of Kindness campaign to a customer I’ve seen their faces light up. It’s made me feel so proud to be a Starbucks barista and a Channel Kindness Reporter.

The Cups of Kindness Collection is a natural fit because both organizations believe the way we treat one another, even in small ways, can be a powerful force for good. Starbucks is the fourth job I’ve had and I’ve never been happier. I truly feel my fellow partners and I are a family. I’ve never been closer with my coworkers than I am with the ones at Starbucks. I have made some really close friends like Rosie. We went to middle school together but weren’t very nice to one another. Working together at Starbucks, however, has brought us together. I’m even her baby boy’s honorary auntie! Not many people can say that their job created friendships that are basically families.

I recently wrote a story for Channel Kindness about how customers at Starbucks will “pay it forward,” paying for each others drinks and food [LINK]. For people they don’t even know they will go out of their way to spend their money on strangers. I’ve also seen how our customers will stick up for us and each other. If there is a problem in the lobby between a guest and a barista, our loyal regulars go out of their way to try to help solve the issue. The kindness that I witness every day is just amazing!

But Starbucks doesn’t just foster a culture of kindness between partners – they also leads by example, treating those of us who work for the company with respect and as valued members of the team. For example, everyone who works at a job with benefits doesn’t really think about them when they’re my age. But my job offers me dental insurance and without it I wouldn’t be able to afford basic dental care, let alone my braces.

Starbucks is donating $0.25 for every Cup of Kindness sold to Born This Way Foundation and the funds will go to support Channel Kindness. “The incredibly generous donation that Starbucks is making to Born This Way Foundation matters,” said Maya. “It matters because it will enable us to support the incredible work of even more young reporters on Channel Kindness and we’ll continue to work hard to life up stories about kindness, mental wellness and positive environments.”

I loved seeing photos of Maya and Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation’s President, at their local Starbucks in their very own green aprons this week, making the rainbow-colored Cups of Kindness. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of Starbucks or Born This Way Foundation, seeing these two organizations work together to make the world a kinder place.