A bride asked guests to do kind acts instead of giving gifts. Here are 10 you can do on your own.
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KIND®


It's normal for a couple to be showered with gifts when they celebrate their big day and walk down the aisle.

But Leigh Clark wanted her guests to do something a little different. She wanted them to give their gifts — in the form of kindness to the world.


Leigh is a big believer in making the world a better place through acts of kindness.

In a phone interview, Leigh told me she caught the bug a few years ago when she decided to do one act of kindness every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas:

"My first act was delivering meals to underprivileged families on Thanksgiving. I was able to give this giant sheet cake away to these kids who were playing with their parents nearby. The amount of joy that they radiated back at me was so amazing that it was like I was hooked. And that's when I understood for the first time in my life that happiness doesn't necessarily come from within. It can be reflected back to you."

So when her wedding was approaching, she knew that asking guests to do good deeds would be an amazing way to celebrate love — and not just between her husband and herself, but the world.

The response was overwhelming. And it wasn't just her wedding guests who opted to join in. Other acquaintances and childhood friends hopped on board, too.

Jillian Bhatia, a childhood friend of the bride, got her family involved. She and her kids, Rohan and Vivi, pitched in and donated supplies to a local women's shelter.

Bridesmaid Emily Schairer and her daughter, Chloe, brought pet supplies to a local animal shelter.

London-based Caitlin Blewett, another of Leigh's childhood friends, bought some frozen yogurt for the office security guard.

As Leigh told me, "If you're doing the right thing while going about your day and trying to make the world a nicer place, the world smiles back."

Fortunately, you don't have to wait for a wedding invite to go out into the world to commit acts of kindness.

Here are 10 super easy acts of kindness you can do to continue to spread the love and make the world a kinder place:

1. Thank someone who's supported you in the past, like a teacher, friend, or mentor, by giving them a hand-written letter.

2. Spend a couple hours volunteering at a local nonprofit organization.

3. Donate goods to a local shelter.

4. Buy lemonade at a child's lemonade stand.

5. Call a friend and tell them how much they mean to you.

6. Send kind words to someone getting a lot of hate on social media.

7. Send groceries to a friend who is busy and/or going through a difficult time.

8. Put a quarter in an expired parking meter to help a stranger avoid getting a ticket.

9. Send flowers anonymously to a receptionist or security guard.

10. Leave an encouraging note somewhere on a store shelf or in a popular library book.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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