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upworthy
Joy

Neighbor does an amazing act of kindness for father of 3 who lost his wife

“I see him doing the absolute best that he can with what he has.”

kindness, donald wilson, colin mcconnell

Colin McConnell surprises his neighbor with an incredible amount of gifts.

An incredible story out of Detroit, Michigan, shows how the power of kindness can multiply. Colin McConnell is a writer who lives in a duplex next to Donald Wilson, a single father, who lives with his 3 young kids, ages 5,3 and 1. Sadly, the mother of the 3 children passed away a few months ago, leading Wilson to raise them by himself.

"He told me that the kids are going to be around a lot more because their mother had passed," McConnell told WXYZ. "And the kids were walking up the stairs at the time. I just saw their little legs and my heart just broke instantly. I wanted to do something more for them. And he said, 'We don’t really have winter coats.’ I thought he had three daughters because the son was wearing his sister’s clothes — it was because he didn't even have clothes."

McConnell had tried to help the single dad by watching his kids from time to time or picking them up some donuts from the coffee shop. But he felt he had to do more. “I see him doing the absolute best that he can with what he has,” McConnell said. “I know from having conversations with him that he's having a difficult time, and so are his [kids],” he said in a viral TikTok video.


As a writer and entrepreneur, McConnell has a substantial following on social media. So he shared Wilson’s story on TikTok, hoping that maybe 1 or 2 people would help.

“If anyone wants to help me help this family and spread some kindness, you can go to my Amazon and it'll come right to my house and I'll give it to the family,” McConnell said in his video, posted on November 16.

@colin313

My neighbors daughters lost her mom not too long ago. I put some things in an Amazon wish list to try to help them. If anyone’s interested in helping me spread some kindness, please feel free to check out the link in my bio

The video received a tremendous response, and in the 3 weeks since it’s been posted has over 5.7 million views.

"I posted it, and I woke up the next morning and there were already boxes on my porch. I was like, ‘What?!’" he told WXYZ. “I didn’t think it would do that big and all of a sudden, it was thousands! I was like, ‘What! Oh my God!'"

@colin313

Replying to @user3549350178798 heres an update on the video i did @Colin313 o did on the little ones who lost their mom recently. Dad was moved to tears and cant thank you enough. Ill be doing more updates soon #commUNITY #bethegood #spreadkindness.

In a follow-up video, McConnell shared Wilson’s reaction to seeing all of the presents, and he couldn’t believe the generosity of strangers. Over a thousand people sent the Wilson family food, clothes, toys and gift cards. Later, after McConnell shared that the family had no furniture, the children received bunk beds.

The generosity was overwhelming for Wilson, who had difficulty accepting the gifts at first.

"That was the biggest thing for me, not feeling like I’m able to do it, or I’m not capable to do it, but Colin made it easy. He made me feel at home, he made me feel like a brother, like family,” he told WXYZ.

McConnell later shared that Wilson has 3 older children, half-siblings to the younger 3, and he was able to help them out through the donations, too.

santa, colin mcconnell, kindness

Colin McConnell with Santa Claus.

via Colin313/TikTok

The young children are going to get quite a surprise on Christmas day. McConnell found someone to play Santa and deliver their gifts on Christmas morning. McConnell says he’ll be dressing up as Santa’s little helper for the occasion.

Here’s the address to send the Wilsons a Christmas card.

The Wilson Family

℅ Colin McConnell

POI Box 32973

Detroit, MI 48232

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

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