Working Together: Valentines Cards for The Moorings

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In late November, we encouraged readers to send holiday cards to residents of The Moorings of Arlington Heights, a retirement community in Illinois who supported our ride last summer with well wishes and dozens of acts of kindness pledged as we pedaled and sweated our way across the Northeast on the way to New York City. The results were amazing. The residents received over 400 cards from all around the world.

As the holidays fade behind us and the days start to get longer again, let’s not forget our friends in Illinois. Let’s send a note, a postcard, or a Valentine’s Day card to remind the residents that we’re still thinking of them. For those of you on Facebook, the event page is here. Please share this event widely with your friends.

Cards can be sent to:
Geri Wozniak
c/o The Moorings of Arlington Hts
761 Old Barn Lane
Arlington Hts IL 60005
USA

Photo: Valentines by elod beregszaszi used under creative commons license

Gratitude Week: Thanking those who made a difference

Gratitude

We’ve created a new event for everyone to work together on. This one was inspired by a card I received over the Christmas holiday.

I wouldn’t be where I am without the help and support of friends, teachers, family, and even some strangers who gave me support when I needed it. I’ve thanked many of them for this and as I did so, I was surprised to find out that many of them had no idea of the huge difference they made with what they thought were small acts.

So next week I’m encouraging you to share your thanks with someone who made a difference in your life. Send a card, a letter, a Facebook message, or meet them in person to let them know they made a difference in your life.

As always I’d like to share people’s experiences with this event, so feel free, if you are comfortable, to post the stories of how the people you are thanking helped you. Share them on the wall below or email them to me at todd@500kindnesses.com.

For those of you on Facebook, the event page is here. Please share it widely.

Photo by Kate Ware used under Creative Commons license.

Holiday Card Drive: 367 Participants!

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Thanks to everyone who participated in our holiday card drive for the residents of The Moorings. At the end, according to our Facebook Event, we had a total of 367 participants, some of whom sent multiple cards.

What I like about this event aside from the obvious aspect of making people happy, is how it clearly demonstrates a few of the most important things I’m trying to get across with this project:

An act of kindness doesn’t have to be huge or take a great deal of effort to make a huge difference people’s lives. A card sent, a smile or a hug given, a meal shared – these things, when lovingly performed can be truly significant to another person.

A number of small acts, when performed together, can make create an even bigger impact. One card sent is lovely, many cards sent is all the more so. A few minutes effort on the part of a few hundred people truly adds up. And for being a part of that, I truly thank you all.

Most importantly, it also illustrates the power of turning ideas into action. We’re all filled with amazing ideas, beautiful ideas, ideas that can do nothing short of change the world around us. But if we talk ourselves out of doing those ideas, find reasons that it won’t work, or won’t have the desired impact, then nothing will happen. In this case so many people got together, took an idea that we all shared in our heads, and instead of finding reasons not to do it (I could have found dozens for myself alone!) we just did it.

So as we approach the new year, I challenge you to take action – not just with acts of kindness, but in all areas of your lives. Turn your ideas into reality. You’ll be amazed what you can create.

Holiday Card Drive: Thanks for Participating!

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While it’s not over yet (details are here if you’d still like to participate), I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for participating in our Holiday Card Drive. The response was fantastic and beyond what I’d ever expected. Participants posted their experiences on the Facebook page for the event. Here is a sampling of what they said:

“What a great idea…not only will I send a card and suggest to family and friends to send a card, but I am also going to do this very thing with a local nursing home where my mother lived for 9 years…I plan on gathering peoples cards and delivering the to our nursing home…Genius and so loving especially at this time of the year when they need that extra love.
What a wonderful community project…”

“We wrote 5 cards at my Christmas get together the other night. Will be sending them this week. :-)”

“Just addressed our card! Love knowing it will bring people some joy.”

“I just wrote The Moorings folks a 4-page letter and it was so much fun! “

As cards came in, Geri, the Activities Coordinator at The Moorings started giving us updates:

“Cards are begining to arrive. Shout of thanks to Jane J., Lee Ann, The Pascheke Family, Christine P. The Gates Family and The Michaels Family. The residents are feeling so very loved by letters from around the U.S. Your photos, singing cards and homemade cards are amazing. Good wishes and love is felt by all!”

“We recieved mail from a castle today! I googled the castle with a photo and learned the history. We traveled to Nova Scotia also! We read a poem about remember mother’s. There was not a dry eye in the house. Traditions that continue thru the next generation is so important to my residents. Kindness, love and caring are the “things” that mean the most. We recieved many cards looking for a grandparent pen pal. You got it! There are many sad people grieving the loss of loved ones. I see it and feel it in the words you express. We love you back and truly appreciate the kindness you have shown. I believe we are building a lasting relationship. You are Loved.”

“Our boards and cabinets are filling up! Cards from all over the world! Even a children’s hospital staff took the precious time to send a card. We all agreed that it difficult to loose a resident who becomes our family even after a long fullfilling life. How difficult it must be to care for children in the hospital. What a caring, loving, supportive staff. We cried and were deeply touched to receive such a thoughtful card. Special shouts out to all the classrooms and teachers who have supplied cards for all the departments! Canada, Ohio, Minnesota, New Zealand, a castle too! Warm notes and letters with enclosed photos! We plan on writing back after the holidays so watch your mail. Lastly only a small portion of my residents are represented in the photo. You are blessing so many people. We cried and prayed over the latest events in the news. It is never too late to change the world through one act of kindness.”

“Our cabinets are full along with the bulletin board. Cards are also distributed in the residents room. Each resident was able to receive three personalized cards for their rooms yesterday! It has become the highlight of their day! They LOVE the notes and stories! Today I will read to them a four page letter! We have recieved dvd’s and cd’s! Hand drawn cards from children around the world! Wonderful photos of pets and families. I will be posting later today the photos of the cards. The resident family members are viewing the cards along with the staff. Many lives are being touched through your acts of kindness. It takes only one act of kindness to change the world. May it be yours that finally does it!”

“If cards were not enough we are now receiving holiday song videos! They are the most beautifully heartfelt songs ever! I am so looking forward to showing my residents tomorrow. Thank you so much.”

“Posting a small portion of the cards we recieved so far! Thank you so much for changing the lives of our residents. Some of my residents may not have made it to see another Christmas but they lived long enough to be touched by your kindness. It means so much!”

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Thanks, everyone, for your participation. It made a lot of folks’ holiday seasons special. Heck, I don’t even usually celebrate the holidays and it made mine really special.

Holiday Card Drive Gains Some Press

The response to the holiday card drive has been fantastic, watch this site for updates about the response. Meanwhile, here’s an article that was posted at PRWeb about the event.

Residents of The Moorings of Arlington Heights Health Center gather in front of their “Acts of Kindness” bulletin board supporting Todd O’Reilly’s “500 Kindnesses” cross-country bike journey.

Residents of The Moorings of Arlington Heights Health Center gather in front of their “Acts of Kindness” bulletin board supporting Todd O’Reilly’s “500 Kindnesses” cross-country bike journey.

The Moorings Retirement Community Residents Respond To Call For Acts of Kindness; Holiday Cards Requested For Them In Return

Arlington Heights, IL (Via PRWEB) December 14, 2012

No matter who you are or what your age, you are more important than you think. And more wealthy and more powerful too. In your ability to give acts of kindness and make a difference. That’s what residents in health care at The Moorings of Arlington Heights retirement community did when they pledged more than 50 acts of kindness to support Canadian Todd O’Reilly, 42, and his 14-year-old son in their “500 Acts of Kindness” cross-country bicycle journey from Toronto to New York City.

How did it all begin? Every day The Moorings residents would review the day’s news with Health Care Activity Specialist Geri Wozniak. Dismayed by the amount of bad news they read, they began to look for good news. They found a story last summer about Mr. Reilly and his son’s bike ride seeking pledges of acts of kindness.

“We began to discuss how you can change the world with one act of kindness at a time,” said Ms. Wozniak. “The residents wanted to participate in Mr. O’Reilly’s pledge drive and began to list acts of kindness they had given, received or witnessed. We emailed them to Todd during the bike trip.” A sampling:

Evelyn’s daughter Karen played the piano
I let two ladies go ahead of me for breakfast
Kindergarten kids came to visit
We encouraged the kindergarten kids.
Wife of former roommate is still bringing me the paper.
Gave a compliment
Prayed for Buthene
Helped table mate with straw

From a post at his website, 500Kindnesses.com, Mr. O’Reilly writes “I’ve talked before about how just a simple act of kindness – a smile shared, a kind word can make a huge difference. I can speak from personal experience when it comes to the residents of The Moorings. I remember clearly one day outside of Ottawa when the weather was so hot, the bugs so bad, and my hands were still numb from bad handlebar position. We pulled over for a break in the shade and I looked at my phone to find a message from the Activities Coordinator at The Moorings, Geri, cheering us on, reminding us to stay hydrated and sharing a huge list of acts of kindness that the residents had performed. It was always wonderful to hear from them and made me feel so good that, even at the hardest times, even pushing the bike down a gravel path at 11PM, we would remember their kind words and push onward.”

Holiday Christmas Card Drive

Now Mr. O’Reilly is seeking acts of kindness in return for the residents of The Moorings of Arlington Heights. In an effort he calls “500 Kindnesses Holiday/Christmas Card Drive,” he asks that holiday cards be mailed to The Moorings residents with personal notes of well wishes. Ms. Wozniak told him how the residents gather as family during the holidays, open cards together, and take turns reading them aloud and posting them on the wall.

What do the residents of the Moorings want the world to know about kindness? Ms. Wozniak shared their thoughts: “Kindness is rewarding and should be spread around. There’s a lot of it out there; you just have to find it. Kindness shows love.”

And what do the residents of The Moorings want the world to know about them? “We are smart. We are movers and shakers, a community of people, not a nursing home. We are The Moorings; this is our home. We stay healthy and happy. We hope the Cubs win.”

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About The Moorings of Arlington Heights

The Moorings of Arlington Heights, a member of Presbyterian Homes, is a continuing care retirement community located in Chicago’s northwest suburbs at 811 East Central Road in Arlington Heights, IL, just east of Arlington Heights Road. The Moorings provides independent living in apartments or villas, assisted living apartments, skilled nursing care, specialized Alzheimer’s care, and rehabilitation services.

About Presbyterian Homes

Founded in 1904, Presbyterian Homes is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization with a national reputation for creating extraordinary retirement communities. Presbyterian Homes serves older adults through its residential and healthcare programs on campuses in Evanston, Lake Forest, Arlington Heights and Chicago, IL. The organization is accredited by the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission, the nation’s only accrediting body for retirement communities. For more information visit Presbyterian Homes.