In a perfect world being kind seems like the sort of thing you wouldn’t have to remind people to be. But unfortunately in busy day to day life, when we have other things on our mind, making that extra effort is something that often seems to slips away. Which is why on November 13 each year World Kindness Day encourages everyone to promote and celebrate kindness in all its forms and encourage good deeds.
At Newlife this is something we actively strive to do. Yes, we help children across the UK receive the equipment they need all year round, but we also actively support families through our Nurse Helpline so that families have someone to talk to about their struggles who understands, someone to be on their side with a sympathetic ear and in-depth knowledge and can signpost to other organisations when necessary.
Each of our nurses recognise that a family’s particular circumstances are unique and take the time to really listen, so they can respond their individual needs. This might mean they also receive additional help from another Newlife service, help for another child in the family with a disability, or information on a wide range of topics from condition specific information to the details of a support group or even information on benefits they might be entitled too.
That extra effort to help wherever possible is reflected in the rest of Newlife too, helping other charities and organisations when possible.
Newlife raises vital funds for its services by working with more than 160 leading retailers and manufacturers who donate items that would otherwise be destined for landfill which are then sold across the charity’s 10 stores.
And when we recently received 12,000 items of school uniform after the autumn term began, we knew the best thing to do was get them to those families most in need.
As well as partnering with education recruitment agency, Smile Education, who collected uniforms to take to schools within the network they supply agency staff, we also offered the uniform items to other schools and organisations such as church groups and charities directly helping families fleeing domestic violence or families who may be homeless – an offer that was enthusiastically taken up.
But kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It can be in the little things too.
Having any kind of disability can make life much harder for a child and their family when they are out and about, so anything you can do to make life easier would be welcome. That could be a smile or a thumbs up at a child or young person in a wheelchair, extra patience and compassion with a child you see struggling with big emotions or overwhelmed by their surroundings, especially if it’s holding you up. It could be choosing to skip your daily coffee and donating what you would have spent on it that day to charity, or donating any spare time volunteering at an organisation.
Those small moments of kindness can have a big impact on someone else’s day – and it might make your own day feel a little bit better too!