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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness: City College, NYC


We held an event at City College last week called Random Acts of Kindness. 
Our heart behind the event was to serve & love the campus. Our students wanted to serve and care for their peers without recognition.


The tuesday before the event we went out and asked students a simple three question survey:

1. What is a random act of kindness someone has ever done for you?
2.How did it make you feel?
3.Would you do it for someone else?

Here were some of the responses to the first question:

-Someone held the door for me (lots of students said this one!)
-I dropped something when I had my hands full and instead of just watching me struggle, he helped me pick it up
-One time I lost my ID and they mailed it back to me
-One lady gave me a $20 metro card...she looked really different than me, so I was really surprised when she gave it to me
-My friend helped me study

The responses to the second question were all very similar:
-it made me want to do something nice for someone else

Almost everyone we asked said yes to #3 (there were a few students who had trouble with just doing something nice for someone without any reason or recognition for their nice deed). 

Our students gathered up all the surveys (which had the emails of the students we surveyed so we could tell them when the event was happening if they wanted to come and join us) and created a plan.

Monday: hold the doors open for people on campus
Tuesday: intentionally thank staff workers on campus (cafeteria workers, janitors, security officers)
Wednesday: give out free cookies & cake
Thursday (during club-hour): culmination of the event...spin the wheel & win a prize!

Here are some highlights of the week:


Matt and Natalie were thanking a cafeteria worker and told her if there was ever anything they could do to let them know. She told them if they would write a comment card that would be really helpful since the only comment cards they receive are negative. 

Matt walked over to another lady and asked her for a comment card, her response was, "Eh..What happened?" Matt said, "Nothing happened, I just wanted to say thank you." The lady couldn't believe it. Matt told her, "Thanks for working so hard...I know you probably feel like no one notices, but I'm thankful for what you do." She then went on to tell Matt she has worked there for 22 years and no one has ever told her that before.

They continued talking and found out that both her husband and Matt are from the exact same home town: Asheboro, NC. She couldn't believe it! So she got on her phone, called her husband, and gave the phone to Matt! Her husband lives just a few miles away from Matt's parents. How crazy!


After Cody & Vlad thanked a security officer he said, "Thanks, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right after these past couple weeks." (There have been a lot of riots at City College, with a lot of security and police involved.)

A cafeteria worker named Mason always has a stone-cold-face and is in charge of moving the line along. You'll always hear him yelling, "Next!" Matt walked up to him and said, "I'm not buying any food I just wanted to say thanks for what you do. We really appreciate you." As Matt was talking, Mason's face went from stone-cold to a warm-grin. Mason took off his gloves to shake Matt's hand and told Matt over and over again how much he appreciated him saying that.


"If more people would say things like that then our job a would be a whole lot better." -Neil, another cafeteria worker after being thanked for what he does.


Students were amazed that someone would give away free cookies! Over and over they asked, "What's the catch?!"


Thursday was the culmination of this whole event. 

Club hour is from 12:30-2pm on Thursdays.  Many clubs get tables and set them up in one big area on campus. 
The campus-radio is there playing music and students are out socializing since there is no class during that's a pretty fun environment!

Jackie, Erin, Kelsey, Matt, Natalie, & Joy

We had a "spinner" & students would spin the wheel & win a prize. Simple, right? The question we heard most was, "What's the catch? Why are you just giving away free things?" The idea that we were just there to love on the campus was crazy

We got to know a lot of students and were able to invite them to our Familia Time the upcoming Saturday. 

Most of the time we had a really long line of students waiting to spin the wheel. It was a great opportunity for us to talk with & get to know students while they were waiting.

Metro cards are a b-i-g deal in the city. The subway&bus is how almost all the students (& people who live in NYC) giving away three metro cards was a huge deal! Students could not believe it! Pictured above was our first winner...there was lots of screaming and cheering!

Me, Jackie, & Natalie

Our next metro card winner! Again, lots of cheering!

Lots of excitement! The other prizes were water bottles, pencil cases, highlighters, & stickers.

Matt & Cody

Our last metro card winner. She was SO surprised & excited!

With 45 minutes left & lots of prizes to still give away the fire alarm went we packed up all our stuff and became mobile!

Jackie took the spinner, Kelsey grabbed the sign, and the rest of us carried all the prizes.

We went up to students and asked, "Wanna spin the wheel & win a prize?!" Most students being skeptical asked, "What else will I need to do?" Some students even saying out loud, "ehh...I'm skeptical about this..."

We even had the fire-fighter spin the wheel! We gave him a water bottle and thanked him for serving.

After about 20 minutes we were allowed to head back inside. 

While packing up our things a flashmob was the theater students singing "Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord," as a way to promote their upcoming play, Godspell. It was such a fun & beautiful way to end the event.


I wanted to give a shout-out to one of our bosses, Erin. Not only did she transport that huge&heavy box of water bottles from her apartment, to the subway, & then up the big hill to City College, but she leads our team so well. 
At our team meeting the next day she excitedly said, "We saw transformation yesterday! Students went from:

 ignoring us,
 to being skeptical about spinning the wheel,
to being open,
 & then receiving the prize." 

We prayed for the same action to take place with students and the gospel...
that they would go from ignoring God, to asking questions, to being open about the gospel, & to receiving what Jesus has done for them. Please pray with us for this to take place!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Running Adventures

I l.o.v.e. the smell & crisp-ness of a fall morning. Today I woke up and was so excited that (1) I didn't have to be anywhere & (2) I was about to go running. 

I've been a runner for over 5 years, but since moving to NYC running has become not only a fun thing for me to do, but a necessary thing. 
It's a time where I can escape from the busyness of life and just be.

Saturday morning runs are always my favorite. I don't usually have a time-frame, unlike weekdays when I have to be back to get ready for work.
I also never used to take pictures when I ran, but since moving to the City I find my self stopping at least once-a-run to capture something. I thought I'd share a few things that I've captured recently. 

This was taken a few weeks ago...I was trying to figure out how to get down by the river. I couldn't figure it out but I thought this picture was cool.

I'm pretty sure this was taken when I was running across the George Washington Bridge...I'm about 95%..err lets go with 78% positive about that.

I thought this was so cute...really random on the streets of NYC, but so cute!

I was SO excited when I found this spot. I finally found out how to get down by the river! The way I found was a little sketchy...when I took Matt down there he asked, "Did you feel safe coming this way by yourself?!" ...Needless to say I had to find another way down...and I did!

This is the same spot as pretty.

George Washington Bridge.

There were lots of people with their dogs playing catch off to the side. Loved it.

This is when I took Matt down there with me. Sometimes on Sundays we have running dates. :)

There is a lot of history behind this Little Red Lighthouse...there is even a children's book about it! 

I felt like I was in a movie while I was running down this path!

I took this just before I headed back home.

Then I saw this... 

I ended my run down by the river and I started walking back home. I deliberately went the way I did so I could walk down 169th street. I love this's always so quaint and inviting, but today when I rounded the corner I saw these big, blue bars.

These bars mean the building is having some work (reconstruction, painting, etc) done. 

At first I was bummed...[I know that sounds silly...I really like this street ha!]...but then my emotions changed to gratefulness.

Just as the landlord knew these buildings needed repair, so my Creator knows my heart...He knows what needs repair, growth, & removal. 

 The landlord cared enough for his/her buildings to get the work done... I'm thankful that the Lord cares for His children and promises to continually make us more like His son, Jesus.

Often times there is a big mess at the construction site before the structure comes out beautifully. I think that's the same with us...I can't speak for everyone but more times than not I'm a hot mess! God is so faithful & patient with me. He continues to mold me&shape me into who He wants me to be. Sometimes that process is painful&humbling...but He sees the deepest desire of my be like Jesus. 

I yearn for the day where construction sites are no more...but until that day I press on!

As I walked home my heart felt full&thankful. 
It was one of my favorite Saturday-runs yet!


"May the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." -Psalm 19:14