I have the Greatest nieces and nephews in all the land. The youngest nephew, Jonathan, recently did a little thing for me. He told his teacher about Spreading Joy Corporation and how we help people. In his mind, he was just telling her about how his Aunt Marie was making a difference. What he didn’t realize was that he was actually doing something huge and giving me an opportunity that I may never have gotten myself.
After meeting with his teacher, the preparations start. I want to introduce Spreading Joy Corporation to them. I want them to know what we do, what we’ve done and what we want to do! What our hopes, dreams and desires are. I want them to know that we’ve had goals and fallen short of them, but we weren’t feeling guilty about it because we simply did what we could with what we had. More than all of that, I want them to walk away empowered, feeling like they can make a difference. I want them to see and KNOW that there’s no joy like Spreading Joy.
I only have 30 minutes to speak to them and know that I have so much more than that to say, but am prepared to make it work. After introducing Spreading Joy to them, I quickly run through our accomplishments (article on that soon to be published) explaining to them that while we didn’t reach the individual goals we set, we were not feeling guilty. We simply did what we could, with what we had and used that to make a difference. I fill them in on New Year of Hope (NYOH). Explaining where we were and that we needed $802 to deliver HOPE to Dwayne and his 10 year old daughter Diana. Oh, I can’t wait to deliver this.
We spend much of our time talking about noticing and appreciating the little things that truly make life big. I’m a lover of the million little things in life that make my heart smile. While I’m sharing this, I hand out Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. The first guy to receive this Chris, wasn’t sure about what I was doing and offered it back as I was walking away. I smile and told him to keep it, it’s what I love doing. My favorite thing to give out is Reese Cups, because they are my absolute favorite! But, Little Debbie makes is affordable to give sweet smiles. While I’m “spreading joy” and passing out some of my favorite things, I want to remind everyone that holding the door for others, smiling at everyone, letting someone ahead in line and a whole slew of other “little” things make a huge difference.
Middle school children do not have a lot of resources financially, but they do have huge hearts, creative minds and the power within themselves to make a huge difference. We talk about a few of the 50 Ways to make a difference with spending a penny. The list was printed out for them. I’m hoping that they will be inspired to start spreading joy from that. I also tell them I want 50 more ways to make a difference for free and ask if they would consider sending in some ideas.
After giving Jason Lott a few of the “little things that make his life big”, I call 4 people (Tols Detmer, Thomas Butner, Madeline Tilley & Sabrina Twery) from the group of kids. Give them a “joy pack”. This is not a gift for them to keep, I ask them to choose someone to give this to, someone that could use a little joy that day. They are spreading joy heros. They give freely, happily and everyone is hoping to be chosen. Are the bags huge gifts? NO. Remember, it’s the little things.
The 4 heros come back to me after spreading joy. I thank them for not grumbling, not whining and doing such a great job. They are all smiling, standing there empty handed. I’m hoping that their hearts are soaring because they just did something amazing! Before I let them sit down, I give them a little something, more than what they just gave away – but still, little things, because I want them to know, first hand, little things are amazing! I want them to realize that they (the huge hearted kids) have the ability within themselves to make a huge difference.
So, what really happened because one little 11 year old boy cared? Well, let me tell you!
Spreading Joy was able to:
- Enjoy the snow while talking to one amazing teacher over delicious coffee
- Give away 300 joy packs of candy with our information attached to it.
- Joyfully hand out and throw into the crowd 10 Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Give away 6 yummilicious, simply the best treat on the face of the earth Reese Cup – Reese Eggs
- Give away 9 packs of lip gloss (with 8 different kinds in each) I think
- Give away 4 packs of fingernail polish (with 7 or 8 different kinds each)
- Give away 3 $10.00 McDonald’s gift cards
- Give away 3 boxes of a beautiful necklace set
- Give away 9 books (I love giving away books)
- Speak to around 200 middle school kids with HUGE amazing Hearts! (and several Amazing teachers too!)
And….imagine with me, for just a moment, if you will. If those 200 individuals tell one other person, JUST 1 – that will be 400 people hearing about Spreading Joy Corporation for the first time. And – if that second set of people tell 1 other person, then we are up to around 600 people hearing for the first time.
So, Jonathan, you amazing Spreading Joy hero – do you see how the “little” thing of telling 1 person, has made a HUGE difference? I hope so. I hope others will too.
What did I get out of all of this? Oh, yes, new people heard about Spreading Joy. Yes, I enjoyed presenting my passion to the school – they were attentive and fun to talk to! But more than that, the hugs, the laughter, the smiles, the bright sparkly eyes – from realizing that “hey!!! I can make a difference, right here – right NOW!” filled my heart with so much JOY, I floated through the rest of the day! I was literally flooded with great joy from the response of the children afterwards! Warm, receptive and their minds were already thinking of ways they could make a difference! My heart was completely overflowing as I was extremely blessed by simply being able to hear their comments as they were heading back to class.
So, when you think that giving a little blue bunny is something small – ohhhh…THINK again!! HUGE!! Huge Spreading Joy Hero there!! I love this guy and someone with a HUGE heart was kind enough to make my day and give him to me!
When Reese Cups are on sale, buy one, get one free….Get them, give one and discover how AMAZING you feel when you are instantly transformed into a Spreading Joy Hero! Chris, the first receipient of the Little Debbie Cake, surprised me with an amazing treat at the end of the presentation! Thank you for the wonderful Reese Cup! It was fantabulous!
There is nothing like being flooded with great joy when you see, first hand, the little things that make life big!
Thank you Lincoln Charter School for having me at your wonderful School! Thank you Ms. Paula Micol for inviting me to present my passion for making a difference. Thank you Jonathan, for being one child who cared and acted on it – and made a Huge Difference!
The question goes out to all who read this:
Have you ever considered for one moment, what telling just one person could do to help spread the word about Spreading Joy? Do you see the amazing difference that just one person doing so has created?
Who will you tell today? Will you be a Spreading Joy Hero and spread the word about Spreading Joy?
Thank you for making a huge difference, right where you are, with what you have, leaving the guilt behind – because you are truly making a difference!
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