Heather Brebaugh is a magnet for kindness. She sees it everywhere she goes, and where she doesn’t see it, she creates it.
She reminds me of something I’ve learned over the years about kindness: it changes our perspective. It helps us get our eyes off of ourselves and our own problems. It moves our brain to a place of compassion for others and reminds us that even if we don’t have the power to do everything, we all have the power to do something.
Here are a few of the things Heather is seeing and doing in her part of the world.
"One of the wonderful things about kindness is it seems to be all around us in ways large and small. Here's a recent one from our little community outside of Prescott, Ariz.
"As a community, we decided to provide boxed meals for all four of the law enforcement agencies in our area to show our appreciation for them. Many of our community members donated and our club staff ordered the food, prepared the boxed lunches and delivered them to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, the Prescott Police Department, the Prescott Valley Police Department and the Chino Valley Police Department.
"It's not the first time our residential community has pulled together to benefit others. The Prescott High School Boys Golf team was trying to raise funds to purchase equipment and uniforms for the team. It's not a wealthy district and the golf team is pretty far down the line for funding.
"After meeting the coach, I decided to send a note to our community through our community Facebook page, asking for equipment donations. We were flooded with generosity! My garage was full of golf bags, balls and clubs. What the team couldn't use, they sold, using the money to buy matching shirts and golf bags.
"After talking with our club pro, he agreed to let the team use our golf course once a week for practice. It was a wonderful way to let our members meet the boys that they had helped.
"Over in Clovis, Calif., my daughter Meredith, who is a teacher and high school girls basketball coach, started a #BringVictorytotheValley challenge. To start the undertaking, her team challenged three other teams through Twitter to join them to each donate 100 nonperishable food items to support the Fresno food bank. By June 4, they had collected more than 10,000 items and many teams from the area participated.
"The collection is still going strong and they are managing to provide food for about 700 people each week. As my daughter said, 'When you give people a platform to do good, they will take it.'
"I feel blessed to be surrounded by kindness, everywhere I look."
What an asset people like Heather and Meredith are to their communities. To see a need and fill it or to champion a cause that helps other people use their talents and treasures is a true gift to more people than can ever be counted.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.