Helping Sally Swin – A Story of Kindness

Recently, we were introduced to a site called Help Others.org which is another Kindness website that shares many of the same goals as One Kind Act.com. It’s always great to meet other organizations and people and discuss opportunities for working together to help spread the message. HelpOthers.org is a wonderful organization and they offered to allow us to post stores of kindness that have been submitted to their site… So, we decided to start with this one.

Please be sure to visit HelpOthers.org and download or order your smile cards, you can read more about them at the end of the post.

Helping Sally Swin
Posted on HelpOthers.org
by Optimist

Each year I volunteer at a camp for children with asthma. Having the condition myself, I went there myself as a camper, then became a counselor when I was of age. This camp is an wonderful place that I could spend days talking about – it does amazing things to the kids who go through the program. I’ve met a multitude of unforgettable individuals there, but one child definitely stands out.

One year, as a Senior Counselor, I was in charge of one Teams for games and activities. On the first day, the camp director came to talk to me, leading a small girl. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Sally. She was adorable, vivacious, smart, funny, and about 9 years old. And, in addition to asthma, she had sickle cell disease. This meant I had to keep a very, very close eye on her, particularly during games. Overexertion, dehydration, overheating, being too cold, not being able to breathe right: these were all things that could spell major trouble for Sally. They were things that could potentially be life threatening.

Because of her condition, Sally was not allowed to go swimming in the camp’s pool: the water had to be at least 80 degrees for her to swim, and that had never happened in the camp’s history. She wanted to SO bad, though. Then, worst heat wave ever hit camp. While this made most others miserable, Sally was in heaven; for the first time, the water temperature hit 80 degrees. She begged and pleaded, so I took her to one of the camp doctors. He gave her clearance, and Sally and I headed for the pool. It was there that I found out that Sally had rarely ever been swimming, and did not actually know how to swim.

Now, I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer, but I couldn’t take looking at her face as she watched all the other kids shooting through the water like dolphins. So we got to work. 15 minutes later, everyone in camp knew. She ran from person to person, bragging about the fact that she, who could never swim before, was now a regular little otter.

Sally will always have many more problems than the rest of us have to deal with. It may be years before she gets to swim again. But for that day, she was able to rise above the things that were holding her back and find that she could do anything. And knowing that I had helped put that smile on her face made me feel like I had really touched a life. It wasn’t just about learning how to swim; it was about rising above.

About Help Others.org:helpothers
One college student was talking to another slightly older twenty-something guy about pranks that students do for rival football teams. The older guy says, “Isn’t it interesting that students are motivated to do such incredible acts without getting any credit?” Such acts are fun, collective, creative, and incredibly challenging. But typically, they’re not all that constructive nor do they leave anything with a lasting “wow” feeling either. So the question followed –why not do the same with kind acts?

More friends joined in the conversation. Right then, we thought up a game of doing anonymous act of kindness and leaving behind a “smile card” to keep the chain going. Over the next three months, we tested out the concept. And then, we setup this anonymous website and got started.

Smile CardStarting in September of 2003, smile cards began appearing all around the world. They are markers of a newfangled game of tag, where “you’re it” because someone has done something nice for you. Then it’s your turn to do something nice for someone else and, in the process, pass the card along. This is a game of pay-it-forward: anonymously make someone smile, leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. It’s easy and fun. Is kindness truly contagious? There’s only one way to find out …

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