our first event
Yesterday we held our very first event! We rallied kids together to write letters of kindness at the annual First Day Festival in downtown Charleston, SC. This festival happens every August just days before school starts. Families come for free school supplies and healthy snacks first, then are dazzled with giveaways that bring their attention to local opportunities for their school aged children. As an extra bonus, they are also surrounded by fun entertainment like bounce castles, games, and live music.
Initially our motivation for reserving the booth was to get the word out about Holy City Children and share information about our program and cause, but what happened was so much bigger than we expected. Our hearts were touched.
Each booth at the festival gave out information and had an interactive activity for the kids to participate in. We toyed with many ideas to attract people to the booth for information like corn hole, raffles, or water dunking stations. Then we thought,
“Why not have our booth activity show what Holy City Children is really about?”
the good vibration letter writing station
So, we created the Holy City Children Good Vibration Letter Writing Station to give children the opportunity to feel good by giving back. We gathered together the supplies for kids to write and decorate kind letters to send to Meals on Wheels recipients. Our local East Cooper Meals on Wheels is ecstatic to share these letters with homebound people to brighten their day along with their warm meal. There’s no holiday or special occasion for these letters, we’re just sending them just because it feels good to share positive vibes.
Brighten someone’s day
Several hundred, maybe even thousands, of people flocked to the festival for fun. When they walked by our booth, we asked passing children “Do you want to brighten someone’s day?” or “Would you like to share some kindness today?” and the results surprised us.
Initially, people were taken aback because they thought they were coming to the festival to get things, but when asked to give they paused and nearly 100% of the people we asked responded with a yes. Some enthusiastically and immediately began writing. Others were confused at first, but then you could see the thought register in their eyes, “sure, I can take a couple minutes to make someone happy.” Most importantly, they realized they could take a few moments away from getting to consciously give.
you get more by giving
And you know what happened when they were done writing the letter? Children walked away beaming. After just a few minutes of kids connecting to their parents, friends, or siblings in a shared activity of spreading love to strangers, their light was shining brightly. It’s amazing how a simple act can make us remember that each one of us can actively contribute to making the world a kinder place. No matter how big or small the act, we can all help.
The words children wrote were beyond heartwarming. Notes were short, simple, and pure. These notes capture the first thoughts that came to their sweet minds when thinking “how can I make someone happy?” or “how can I show kindness to someone I don’t know?” Some kids just started writing without knowing why, but something ignited inside of them.
the small things add up
As we ceremoniously handed kids a Holy City Children bracelet that reads, “Today I showed kindness,” children realized they did exactly that, and walked away with a sense of humble pride and innocent joy. And maybe they’ll look down at their temporary tattoo or kindness bracelet tomorrow that says “Today I showed kindness” and think “Maybe I can show kindness again today”
That simple act of intentional kindness will continue on as it reaches someone’s doorstep in the form of a letter. Maybe the person getting it will smile or laugh. Maybe they’ll cry with joy. Everyone can use a little more love.
kindness unites us
It was touching to see little kids who couldn’t even write yet wanting to help. Parents and siblings pitched in and worked together on a project, teaching the younger ones to share kindness. So moving. And such a powerful reminder that we can all help in some way, no matter who we are.
As a result, we noticed an outpouring of love and kindness to complete strangers. This was overwhelming and extremely humbling. These letters showed us that, when presented with the option to be kind, people respond with a YES time and time again. We couldn’t be more grateful.