Maya Smith is Executive Director at Born This Way Foundation
I Facetimed with a 4th grade Girl Scout troop a couple of weeks ago and they had adorable questions about my job and Lady Gaga and they eagerly shared their own examples of kindness from their school in Northern California. The whole experience took less than 20 minutes and I was glad – honored – to do it. In yesterday’s mail, a package of the sweetest handwritten thank you cards arrived from these girls with kind words, practiced cursive writing, and beautiful flower doodles filling every corner. I sat cross legged on my bed, next to my son Hunter, after a stressful day and read each one, passing them to him (a newly minted reader) so he could read them as well.
This is one of the daily experiences I have working for Born This Way Foundation where people thank me for something that has given me so much more than I have given them. That’s the thing about kindness: everyone wins.
I should be writing these smart, funny, passionate Girl Scouts my own bundle of Crayola thank you cards (and maybe I will). But today is Giving Tuesday, so I’m saving ALL my hand cramps for the thank you cards I’ll be sending to the generous members of our community who will help continue to make our mission of building a kinder, braver world possible.
On Giving Tuesday, I invite you to join me in supporting Born This Way Foundation. You might do it for the thank you card. You might do it because you’ve learned from Cynthia’s honest wisdom. You might do it because you’ve been inspired by the videos Shadille creates, laughing and crying alongside the young people on the other side of her camera lens. You might do it because you’ve been moved to action by the programs that Alex and Aysha bring to life or because you love the emails that Mitu helps craft (always proofread by the do-it-all Rachel).
Maybe you’re the beneficiary of one of the more than 8,000,000 acts of kindness that #BeKind21 catalyzed across the globe or maybe you’re a teacher whose classroom was transformed through our partnership with DonorsChoose.org. Maybe you’re one of the scores of people who were inspired to get trained in Mental Health First Aid by our #BeKindBeTheDifference campaign or maybe you’ve been reminded of the good that exists in the world (and you’re ability to amplify it!) by the stories of Channel Kindness.
I’m not sure why you came to Born This Way Foundation, but I’m grateful you’re a part of our community and I can promise – both as the Executive Director and the colleague of this incredible, passionate, hardworking team – that the best is yet to come and we need your support to make it a reality.
In 2019, with your support, we will:
- Bring high-quality, evidence-based resources to young people across the country, equipping youth with the critical tools and skills they need to support their mental wellness.
- Establish programming in Las Vegas to coincide with our co-founder Lady Gaga’s residency at the MGM Park Theater, expanding access to mental health resources for local youth and working with them to build kinder, healthier communities.
- Conduct timely, innovative research to better understand what young people need to lead thriving lives.
- Continue to build an action-oriented community of do-gooders through the new #ChannelKindness, harnessing our collective power to build a kinder, braver world.
Please, fill my day with continued gratitude and the opportunity to draw you Crayola doodles on the corners of Born This Way Foundation stationary. Thank you for your support, for your generous donation, and for embodying and supporting kindness every day.