Welcome to Week 31 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
The project showcase’s LOVE at it’s finest, share their stories – what they do and why they do it! It’s an opportunity for us to find out what inspires them and what keeps them going when challenges or self-doubt assail them.
Meet Jonathan – the creator of AOK Friends that stands for ‘Acts of Kindness friends’, located in Seattle, USA.
The backbone quote of the organisation came about when a homeless man hugged Jonathan and said to him ‘The only thing real before you die is what you give!’
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
July 14, 2017 – I woke up that day and posed the question ‘what do you want me to do today?’ I remember experiencing something emotional and got a vision to go to the store and buy hotdogs and bottles of water.
I headed home, made the hotdogs and put them into a insulated bag to keep the food warm and headed to a park. At the time I didn’t have much experience serving the homeless. I remember that this homeless guy came up to me and I recall being scared but he pretty much told me what I needed to hear.
I started handing out the hot dogs and water to people.
Shortly after, I got my friend involved – and then we headed out at night and served people on the street. More and more people got involved and we started doing it every Sunday. There is now a designated area that we can serve food.
On our first night mission – maybe the first person we met on the night mission was a person laying on the street, his head was close to the road and looked like he was in bad shape. We woke him up gave him food and water and cleaned him up. After he had something to eat, he came up and hugged me and said ‘ Thank you for loving me. The only thing real before you die is what you give!’ This has become the motto of AOK Friends.
What Does AOK – stands for?
The first name was ‘Anonymous Acts of Kindness’. However, one night, when we had several people helping out and were serving food, the police showed up and said that we were not permitted to be handing out food.
There were all these people eating – and I turned to the policeman and asked if he had ever been with friends out and about and had too much food and offered it his friends. The policeman said ‘yeah yeah sure I have done that’. I looked at those that were eating and said ‘these are all our friends!’
Our view is that we are all friends – instead of thinking of people that were helpless! Friends getting together. Everyone is just together – no one is better than another.
That’s how ‘Anonymous Acts of Kindness turned to ‘Acts of Kindness Friends’.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
AOK Friends grew bigger and we formed a not for profit organization. We serve food most Sundays. We chose Sunday’s as when we began we discovered that there was not much access to things on Sunday – so it seems like there was more of a need on Sunday.
We also provide hygiene kits, basic necessities, blankets etc. if we have them donated.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
Not sure how to answer that! It was someone of the greatest moments of my life. Inspiration from God.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
That’s a tough one – for every situation can be something different. I become present on the impact that I have on the world in the moment.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
My mind goes to kindness! Be kind to people.
I have a new mission – to meet a new person every day – I go down to where there is a lot of people with a sign that says ‘I desire a conversation, will you talk to me’. There was a man that came up to talk to me and asked ‘what can people do for you, that would most help you’ what came to mind was being interested in people.
For example – I am an entertainer, and when I have had people listen to me, and my creative gifts I feel like that inspires me to continue creating.
My advice is be interested in people and be accepting. It’s one of the greatest gift you can give to others. If you feel appreciated and loved, it encourages people to live out their dreams.
I noticed a lot of people don’t plan for the unplanned to happen. Feels like some of the best moments in life happen from those unplanned spontaneous moments.
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
Leave space for the unplanned to happen – create space for the spontaneous!
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I am an entertainer – a hooler Hoop entertainer