By Randy McNeely
The saying is that kindness is contagious. When you do something kind, you can’t help but want to do it again.
So it was with Taylynn Krakilo. After the success she had last year with gathering socks for the Muscatine Center for Strategic Action (MCSA), she had to do it again. And she did, but this year she had some extra help.
In 2018, once Taylynn made up her mind that she wanted to gather socks for MCSA, one of the groups she sought donations from for buying the socks was the teachers as her school. However, she was told teachers are not allowed to give gifts so they couldn’t help her in that way.
Fortunately, the school counselor, Donna Story, found a way that the teachers could help even if they couldn’t donate, but it would have to wait until 2019.
Fast forward a year. Donna worked with Taylynn to organize “Socktober” in December to once again gather socks to donate to MCSA.
“I told the board members was this was Taylynn’s idea in Kindergarten, so we were determined to do it this year,” Donna said.
Taylynn recruited a classmate, Ethan Norby to help.
Two older students, Keltin Yant and Emory Peterson who serve on the Student Lighthouse Team, heard about the project and volunteered to help.
“In the past Keltin has spearheaded her own fundraiser for Children’s Hospital when she was in 2nd grade and 4th grade. Her friend Emory helped her so it’s nice to have Keltin and Emery helping. It’s nice to have them be involved in this cause guiding the next round of kids to learn philanthropy!”
Well, they set a goal to collect 250 pairs of socks and got to work.
They placed boxes in several classrooms and, using sock puppets, made students aware of what they were doing through the school’s livestream program.
“One person would be talking,” Taylynn said, “and I would be holding my sock puppet and moving its mouth to say the words. It looked like magic.”
Their hard work paid off. Under Taylynn’s, Ethan’s, Keltin’s, and Emory’s leadership, they more than doubled their goal and collected over 500 pairs of socks!
Needless to say, the people at MCSA were thrilled with the donation.
Executive director, Scott Dahlke was enthusiastic in his praise.
“What these kids are doing is amazing,” Scott said. “To know that the younger generation is still being good stewards of our society and helping out those less fortunate is just so touching. The Christmas season is no time to be struggling with poverty or homelessness, so for them to take time out of their lives to address the needs of people here is absolutely perfect. It shows that it doesn’t matter what generation we’re dealing with, we all have care and concern for people in the community.”
I have to say, I agree with everything Scott said, especially the part regarding stewardship and caring in the community. These young people are doing a great thing, and the parents and adults involved in helping are passing on a priceless gift to younger generations—the gift of understanding and feeling the blessings of being Kindness Givers to those around them.
That gift certainly has a way of catching fire in everyone. It had an amazing effect at the school.
“As the other children in the school found out about the sock project,” Donna said, “they were very enthusiastic. A lot of them didn’t realize that other people don’t have things as simple as socks.”
“Giving them something like this simple activity is a great way to give them the opportunity to help other people. It’s something everybody can understand. … They get the difference between wearing a shoe with a sock and wearing a shoe without a sock, so they understand that that’s a big difference.”
The blessing of being Kindness Givers has certainly penetrated Keltin’s and Emory’s hearts. It has entwined itself in Taylynn’s and Ethan’s hearts. Their desire to help others flows around and from them like a warm summer breeze. If you ask them why they do what they do, you can’t help but feel that warmth and find yourself wanting to help follow their example.
And what of the parents? How do they feel? What do you think–they’re as proud as can be.
“This year was a great success,” Tegan Krakoli said. “Now we just need to fine tune process and make it even better next year.”
What a blessing it is for me as a writer to interact with such amazing people. I can’t help but feel hope for the rising generation.
Has your life been touched by kindness in action, either giving or receiving? Do you have a story to share. If so, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Please note that upon request, I am happy to change names to protect those who want to share but want to remain anonymous.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the Kindness Givers’ Formula, you may find it here.