Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Yankees HOPE Week Day 3: Think Kindness

Courtesy of the Yankees.

On Day 3 of HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week on Wednesday afternoon, Yankees players CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, David Robertson and Aaron Hicks, along with third base coach Phil Nevin, Yankees General Partner / Vice Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman joined the founder of Think Kindness, Brian Williams, to surprise fourth and fifth graders at P.S. 73 in the Bronx.

Williams — with help from Yankees players and staff — led a school assembly about changing the world through simple acts of kindness.

Founded by Reno, Nevada, native Brian Williams, “Think Kindness” visits schools in an effort to inspire measurable acts of kindness in schools and communities around the world. His group teaches that each act of kindness, no matter how small, has an unforeseeable ripple effect that makes the world a better place and each life more fulfilled.

Brian Williams leads the assembly. Courtesy of the Yankees.

During each assembly, students learn the three most important life skills needed to change the world: Have no fear of being made fun of for doing the right thing, be committed to be a good person no matter how mean someone may be, and always live your life as if you were the hero of your dreams.

More on Think Kindness:

Sometimes it’s the little things in day-to-day life that can lift the spirits of a struggling individual. A small act of kindness can create a ripple effect of change throughout a community or even the world.

After a successful career in marketing, Brian Williams was looking for more. He wanted to make a lasting difference and create change his community. In turn, he started Think Kindness, an organization of individuals who travel the country and speak to schoolchildren in order to inspire them to embark on everyday acts of kindness.
Williams, a native of Reno, Nev., said that his program’s goal is to show that everyone can make a difference, even by the simplest of acts. “No matter who you are or what your background is, you can make a difference,” he said. Since Williams launched Think Kindness in 2009, he has spoken to over 250,000 schoolchildren and inspired 2 million documented acts of kindness. In turn, Williams said, the program has instilled habits in people at a young age to lend a hand to those in need and change the local community and the world.

A program being performed. Courtesy of the Yankees.

Think Kindness got its start as “15 Days of Kindness,” which challenged elementary schools to document 5,000 acts of kindness in just 15 days. By documenting acts of kindness, children can look back at how they have made the world a better place. "It has made me think we can all change the world," said 12-year-old Madi of Carson City, Nev., after hearing Williams speak. "You can be any ordinary person, and still change the world by doing little things." In addition, Williams believes that if a child focuses on others, he or she will begin to better comprehend and appreciate the things that are done for them.

In a 2013 TEDx talk at the University of Nevada, Williams said that he chose to use kids to inspire change because their “purest form of raw emotion” can change the world. Williams believes that each individual act of kindness creates a noticeable impact, which in turn inspires a chain reaction of similar acts by everyone affected. The media, community and local leaders galvanize behind it and it creates a movement in an entire area.

Aaron Hicks with a couple of the students.

Additionally, Williams has authored Kindness Ninja – a children’s book that teaches children to always do the right thing. He also produced a documentary, which provides a firsthand account of his organization’s good deeds abroad. By multiplying the efforts of schools across the country, the small staff at Think Kindness has observed a decreased rate of bullying and negativity, and has seen families strengthened. “You can never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness,” Williams said.

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