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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

World Kindness Week!

The Worthy and Kindness Rally in NYC this past Saturday kicked off this special week of World Kindness (November 13-19). It is a perfect time to write a note of thanks because you can never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. Or how about opening the door for someone at work or a store? What about buying a cup of coffee for the person/people behind you in line at your favorite coffee shop?

Andrea Sanchez, who hails from Houston, Texas, is a mastermind when it comes to rallying the troops and spreading kindness and hope. Her NYC WORTHY Rally FOR HOPE & KINDNESS held this weekend (11/11/2023) in the Garment District was an incredible experience, evident in the powerful stories from all the presenters. From learning more deeply about the Homelessness crisis and people willing and able to help as many as they can in the State of Florida —Dennis Pitocco —to the Bipolar mental health diagnosis of another speaker, Nicole Angai-Galindo, we know and heed that EVERYONE has a story. Our lives are full of stories we can share with "perfect" strangers, old friends, or in LIVE In-person events like this past weekend.

All presenters told their stories in the allotted time assigned, with kindness being the common denominator throughout the day. It seems easy to spread kindness, but we all know our world, and it’s not the case in many instances. But it is that “brand” of Kindness and Hope, no matter where “it” came from, which catapulted this group into something bigger and better in our lives. Hubby Bill and I floated out of that tall skyscraper in the late afternoon sun and continued the discussion while on the train back to Long Island. We both felt lighter, humbled, and awestruck by the remarkable people we had just met and spent the day with IRL, all doing what they could each day to inspire and provide hope and kindness to others.

Keynote speaker, a physician from the UK, Dr. Nupi Arora, and businesswoman Kate Nasser spoke of job burnout and how they decided either to PIVOT (the acronym for Passion/Purpose/Inspiration/Intention/Values/Own it/Time/Truth (you had to be there for the song and dance routine from Nupi and her song PIVOT) or go into their own business to succeed successfully with Kindness at the forefront in a rigid, sometimes uncompromising, corporate America.

The Struggle and then Resilience garnered to buck up and carry on was a running theme with our panel in Overcoming the Odds. They included Michelle Lange, Brian Kelly, and Tim Sohn (who was Andrea’s right-hand person to put on this wildly successful event), who shared their thoughtful answers to Andrea’s three questions about the event’s theme. All three were enveloped by spreading Love and Kindness despite their various shaky paths of health and work-life and the balance needed to continue each day in a positive way. That was the glue that held us together, plus finding each other over the last ten years through social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

With 45 years in corporate work, Speaker Leslie Flowers was patched in from North Carolina. She has invested 20,000 hours over the last 15 years studying and teaching people to find the inspiration to achieve their goals consistently by applying timeless success principles, universal law, leadership, and agile thinking skills. Leslie was a hoot (funny and poignant at the same time, who does that?) and presented in song almost half the time. She lifted us a bit higher and was bubblified as we did to all the in-person speakers. What is bubblified you wonder? It’s blowing bubbles (we each had a bottle of them) to all the speakers, like hearts that float up on a Zoom call when something someone says is liked or resonates, except we had genuine bubbles floating all over the room.

After lunch, Bill and I split our time slot with Russ Johns, who shared his story of struggles, trauma, and triumphs that lifted all our spirits. He had lost jobs, then excelled at other jobs, had a life-threatening injury from a terrible fall, lost his wife through divorce, lost his very kind son by suicide, and many other traumatic things in between. But Russ perseveres. He makes his life matter and lives it fully. He always has the best intentions for himself and others and finds joy in making meaningful connections with everyone he meets. He sprinkled in “Kindness is Cool, and Smiles are Free” whenever he got the chance, all with a huge smile on his face.

Bill and I were the only couple presenters. We offered the one-two punch about our story of our family’s struggle with Childhood Cancer and beyond. The Focused Fight book was mentioned, but we engaged the audience with as much humor as possible as we dispensed the good, bad, and ugly of leukemia, sibling issues, and Post-Traumatic Growth. I think we done good! I even brought my Manufacturing Sunshine quilt (and the blue ribbon won for it!) to brighten up the room for the day - it worked!

Last but not least was Sparkle Leslie! Her speech was professional and dynamic, and definitely inspiring on what this 38-year-old has gone through - heavy alcohol and drug abuse. She brought the house down as she told her story of how she survived her trauma, and now, with lots of help, she is happily 4.5 years sober, which got the crowd up on their feet to celebrate with her!

The day was one of those days that will linger in my mind and heart for years to come. I felt honored to be in the company of so many people overcoming hardships and leading exemplary lives - all with kindness and gratitude at the center. Frankly, that may be the secret sauce for contentment after all.

A massive THANKS to Andrea Sanchez and Tim Sohn for hosting all of us at the Worthy Rally. I'm still enjoying the afterglow of meeting you both IRL and the other presenters. I loved seeing everyone Manufacturing their kind of Sunshine!

FYI: World Kindness Week began when several humanitarian groups came together on November 13, 1997to promote kindness in society. Volunteering is a great way to get involved. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation offers these ideas:

* Send an uplighting text to a family member or friend, or give them a call to catch up

* Treat someone- a friend, stronger, or even yourself - to a cup of coffee.

* Be a friendly driver. Let that other car/driver merge into traffic with a wave and a smile (that has the potential to cause a chain reaction of good - wouldn't that be nice?)



Photos: 1) "Hallway Conference," 2) Dr. Nupi Arora, 3) Kate Nasser and Bill, 4) Kate Nasser, 5) Sparkle Leslie, 6) Russ Johns

Photos: 7) Nicole Angai-Galindo, 8) Andrea Sanchez, Bill and Kate, 9) Dennis Pitocco, 10) Leslie Flowers, 11) Panel of Andrea, Michelle Lange, Brian Kelly & Tim Sohn, 12) Tim, Andrea Sanchez, me and Bill


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