Wow, what a wonderful demonstration of neighbourly love and caring on Jan. 19 reported in the Jan. 21 Capital News of 10 young people who stood outside Walmart encouraging people to smile! Sure, a great prod to a Canada and a world so wrapped in a pessimistic frown!
Imagine if each and everyone smiled and vowed to Make Someone Smile Day a daily holiday and commitment as did the Kelowna-based organization called Open for Change!.
On what has been known as Blue Monday since 2005, the young people renamed it Make Someone Smile Day while smiling throughout their hours on city streets handing out happily-positive messages and gifts to uplift people’s spirits.
Random acts of kindness were smilingly suggested as they chatted with people. The smiling good Samaritans pasted sticky notes on windows of parked cars with the words, “Be Happy You are Amazing.” That — and gift bags, too!
So much for all ages to learn and emulate from these young Open for Change champs who plan a White Friday next year, counter-attacking Black Friday on a wider scope than the one-day Monday campaign outside Walmart. Open fo Change founder Michael Lavigne said it will be “all abuut getting away from this corporate greed that is destroying our society one purchase at a time” — what the group labels the “corporate consumerism” taking over our culture.
Likewise, much to learn from and be inspired to global neighbourly care from former Kelowna youth pastor Bill Hebner, reported in a Capital News article of Jan. 23 to be building container houses and shipping them to house homeless people in various nations. That venture grew out of a trip 20 years ago by 47 Okanagan teens to Tacade, Mexico where they built two wood-frame houses, a house described by Hebner as “not much more than a garden shed with an attitude”, Still, he emphasized that the 11×22 wooden dwellings were majestic vis-à-vis the homeless state of the natives prior to the teens’ arrival
The Hebner teams’ container houses are summarized in The Capital News “as his fast-food service style approach to end world homelessness.” From that first home, the newspaper notes that Hebner has taken “the lessons learned …to build nurseries, and schools and even more homes for the poor with more than $2.5 million raised from private fund-raising over the 20 years.
What a contrast to the shameful Capital News report two days earlier that Statistics Canada census figures on domestic violence again showed Kelowna to be “B.C.s top spot for reported incidents.” Nothing to smile about!
And where in the face of all this dreadful data is there any care, concern, and compassion from that one per cent of the global population holding 50 per cent of the world’s wealth?!!!!
Wouldn’t it be so world-changing if that one per cent or all of us of self-sufficient income were as devoted to neighbourly love such as that being organized for Valentine’s Day Feb. 14 in Kelowna by Open for Change. It’s organizing a Love Inn to support Inn From The Cold, Metro Community, and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs’ emergency youth shelter.
Love Inn will be a free open-to-the-public event from 10 a.m, to 10 p.m. at Metro Community, 1470 Water Street, and will feature varied fund-raising activities, information and education, with lunch and dinner prepared by local groups and eateries. Many volunteers will help with many activities. Noteworthy, especially, is a| Pack-A-Sack Run in which “Gamechanger Teams” will seize upon clues and go to various downtown core spots to fill backpacks with toiletries and other essentials Those backpacks will be given to the three organizations for distribution to the most needy.
As an OFC official declares, “We are committed to raising awareness regarding homelessness — why it happens and, more importantly, how we can all help to alleviate the severity of the problem by supporting these three worthy organizations.”
All this certainly so much reason for everyone to be devoted to making all our days a Make Someone Smile Today.
`Imagine our world being wholly textured in words expressed in the Friendship Book of 2015 for the day of Jan. 22: As that day’s saying underscored: “Someone once said: ‘The rule of nature is living for others, The sun doesn’t keep its own heat, the trees don’t keep their own fruit, and flowers don’t keep their fragrance to themselves. All these things are given for the benefit of others.” Yep, a rule so worthy of keeping!!!
All of this so much attuned to the positivity of various art-sketch hangings adorning the walls of our homes, such as: “Friendship is to people what sunshine is to flowers”; an owl reading a book and pondering the Wise Words attributed to writer W.A. Vance — “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”; and, the heartwarming drawings of two farm kids huddled over a patch of soil — a little sister and her smaller brother, with the underlying words, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
All in all, words to live by, and, certainly, we in Canada have so much to smile about!
Wally Dennison, Kelowna