Tara Curb, Her Acts of Kindness Association, and Her Unique Vision of Kindness
It is a late-afternoon, November 7, 2019, on a freezing thirty-five degree and gloomy Thursday at the University of Oklahoma Bizzell Memorial Library. In one of the conference rooms held a Acts of Kindness Association meeting. Running the organization meeting was a smart young woman, Tara Curb; she is the founder of the Acts of Kindness Association (AKA). Acts of Kindness Association is an organization that wants to show kindness to others. They are a club that likes to meet to have a blast while doing something that makes someone’s day. “This club does not try to take political stands a club, which can be done on an individual basis or through other groups. Rather, this club simply seeks to bring diverse individuals together to work to bring smiles to those around us” (Curb). She believes the simplest acts can really have an impact and brighten someone else’s day.
After the meeting, I got to sit down and talk to her. She got to share with me some of her personal experiences that led her to want to start the Acts of Kindness Association. One of her personal experiences she shared was, “When I was a counselor in training at my summer camp, and not having the greatest day. Nothing specific was wrong, but everyone has those days where everything just seems to go wrong. Well, I went to bed that night and there was a bouquet of tissue paper flowers and a note that said “I hope this brightens your day!” I still do not know who left them on my bed, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the thought that counts” (Curb). This shows how something that could seem like nothing could really turn someone’s day around.
Another personal experience she shared with me was, “when I was visiting the University of Miami. It was pouring rain, and we were on the campus tour. To get from one building to the next, we had to cross into the rain, and right there, there was a student standing with a bunch of umbrellas. Anyone who did not have their own umbrella was then given one by this student. The umbrellas were stamped with a logo and the words “random acts of kindness”. There was another student stationed at the other building, who was collecting the umbrellas and passing them out to people traveling in the opposite direction” (Curb). A gesture as simple as this has the power to make somebody’s day brighter. As we continued talking, I asked her what influences her most in her life. She said, “My mother because when I was a kid, I remember how friendly she was to everybody. Even if she didn’t know the person, she always asked “How are you?” to anyone she encountered and I never realized until fairly recently how important that is” (Curb). A person’s influence can have a huge impact on one’s worldview. At the meeting, they talked about their next event and how they will be collecting items for Positive Tomorrows (a school for homeless children) for a service project. If students were able, they were asked to please bring the following items to the next meeting: Shampoo (full-size), Conditioner (full-size), Body Wash (full-size), 2 Toothbrushes (at least), 1 Tube of Toothpaste, 1 or 2 Deodorants (full-size), 1 Bottle of Lotion, 1 Comb or Brush (need more brushes) and solid color reusable shopping bags that they will use to place the items in. They want to be able to donate all these items to the school for the homeless.
During our little sit down talking interview, I asked Tara what she believes in. She answered, “I believe in random acts of kindness. The smallest things that can make you smile. I believe that if you do something nice for someone, they will take that act of kindness and spread it out to people they come across throughout their day” (Curb). Spreading kindness can change the world. I also asked her “What is Kindness to you?”. She said that “it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest differences. For example, holding the door open for someone who has their hands full or smiling at a stranger as they pass by. It’s these little things that let people know someone cares” (Curb). It is crazy how one simple tiny thing or action can completely turn someone’s day around. She said, “You never know what is going on in someone else’s life, they could be struggling and failing at everything and you would have no clue, so you might as well smile and say “Hi!” to them cause you never know when someone might need it” (Curb). Everyone at some point in their life has had some hardship or gone threw something awful, so it is important that people try to be kind to someone else whenever they can be. No one is too busy that they can’t find the time in their day to be kind to someone. Right before I was going to leave the interview Tara Curb had a challenge for me. She said, “Today before you go to bed, do a random act of kindness. It can be to someone you know or someone who is a complete stranger, but it has to be random. And I’ll bet that before you go to bed, you will receive a random act of kindness in return” (Curb). That really stuck with me and now ever since that interview, so I decided to do a random act of kindness every day.
Using a definition, kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. But after talking to Tara Curb, she made me realize it is so much more than that. According to their website, the Acts of Kindness Association (AKA) works closely alongside the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Community College to host events that can make a difference in someone else’s life. In the past, they hand wrote positive notes and passed them out to random fellow students and hand-painted kindness murals at Prairie Queen Elementary. Many of the members of the Acts of Kindness Association participate in these events as well as doing things by themselves. One student went around the school and put body-positive sticking notes in a bunch of the bathroom mirrors around campus.
A simple compliment can go a long way. Another time the Acts of Kindness Association passed out balloons with encouraging messages and also wrote positive messages on a board in the library that students are allowed to use freely. At another meeting, students wrote and delivered notes to professors thanking them for all they do and their support. Showing kindness towards others does not necessarily mean doing something big for them. It can be something as small as being polite and offering emotional support to someone. It can be something as tiny as passing a smile to the old lady who sits all alone in her balcony watching people go by or giving a small bite of your bread to the sparrow that tweets on your terrace every day. Such acts of kindness don’t take much but can make a big difference in the other person’s life. You don’t have to be a millionaire to offer help and be nice to people around. You just need to have a good heart. Each one of us has something to give to the world. We just need to recognize what it is. Besides, we need to understand the need to be kind to the people around us. We need to understand that the world would become a much better place if people are kind to each other. By being kind to other people we do not only help them and light a smile on their faces but also feel good at a deeper level. If we expect others to be kind towards us, we must first inculcate this habit in ourselves. This is what the Acts of Kindness Association (AKA) strive to accomplish with their organization. As stated on their website, their purpose is just to show kindness toward others. No matter how a person decides to show kindness in their life it is important that you give it to all, not just some.
The Acts of Kindness Association and Tara Curb have taught me that we have great power when we speak. Random acts of kindness don’t just have to be random they can be on purpose too. It is an enormous power that can hurt or heal people. What we say can be uplifting or heartbreaking, as well as making another person feel really good or really bad. We often don’t realize it but what we say can make or break reputations. Literally, most of the words that we speak are often heard by others who take them quite literally. Kindness can inspire people to make a difference in their world. If people come together amazing things can happen. Never underestimate or criticize the abilities of you or anybody else. It is possible that when you show someone an act of kindness they will pass it on. When you show someone an act of kindness they might forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
An act of Kindness can change people’s lives every single day and will never end. People naturally do acts of kindness every day without even knowing it. Kindness may not be able to change the past, but it can change the present. No matter how many mistakes we have made, we can still change our future and we know it. Even confident people carry some feelings of self-doubt or worry about their family, relationships, or work. Look for opportunities to share a kind word or compliment not only with family and friends, but with store clerks, parking attendants, and others whom you meet during the day. Your kind words and your smile just might make someone else’s day. Our younger generations need to view us performing random acts of kindness. We are our life mirrors. They view the world as well as life through the actions of their parents. If children view their parents going out of their way to help people or perform kind acts, this will lead them to perform these acts in the future. Allowing your children to view these things enables children to learn kindness, compassion as well as love for people. We should enable them to view their parents as good human beings. It takes far less time to smile as compared to a frown, medically speaking, it takes far fewer muscles in our face to smile than frown, therefore, save yourself some early wrinkles and just smile.
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