Tag Archives: Kindness


The Great Kindness Challenge Is Two Weeks Away!

CYccHgDWQAA2La4.jpg-largeAs a children’s author, the primary goal of my work is to celebrate neurodiversity by empowering kids to use their superpowers for the greater good. One of the most exciting ways I have been able to do that is through my work with the Kids for Peace Great Kindness Challenge.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a HUGE kindness initiative (over 4 million students!) that inspires kids to do as many kind acts as possible during the last week in January. It is amazing to see the effects of this program on school climate. Teachers report that the very cultures of their schools undergo profound, lasting shifts toward benevolence. The environments become much safer for our kids, where everyone is allowed to shine in their own way.

As an adult on the autism spectrum, last year I was so moved by how powerful and brave some children on the spectrum were during the challenge, that I felt moved to celebrate them by featuring them in an article. They took some of those tired, untrue stereotypes regarding autistic empathy and turned them upside down by letting their beautiful empathy propel them into action.

I absolutely loved seeing this opportunity for kids to be safe enough to let their altruism shine. In many cities, they were supported not only by their schools, but by their police forces, firefighters, mayors, and in some cases, state senators.

It’s a powerful, powerful movement. It’s entirely free, very easy to implement, and is absolutely the direction in which I love to see our culture shift. I am so proud to sponsor it.

If you are interested in participating in The Great Kindness Challenge at your school or in the community, do check it out!


A New Form of Storytelling in Kenya!

Magzi quickly discovered that selfies are hilarious.

Magzi quickly discovered that selfies are hilarious.

I have so many exciting things to share, but perhaps the most exciting for me is my recent trip to Kenya. I had the pleasure of going there with Kids for Peace, who is donating a pre-primary school to the village of Mikei with the help of the kids who will participate in the 2016 Great Kindness Challenge.*

Though she's goofing off in this picture, it's common in Magzi's village to for kids to carry large buckets of water on their heads.

Though she’s goofing off in this picture, it’s common in Magzi’s village for kids to carry large buckets of water on their heads.

As a storyteller, I was particularly thrilled with my assignment: to film a day-in-the-life of a wonderful, funny and joyful 10-year-old girl, Magzi. The purpose of the video will be to share her story with kids across the world so they can donate coins for her school during The Great Kindness Challenge in January. Last year, over 2,000,000 students participated, and that number is growing. Magzi’s current school moves from vacant building-to-building, and has few desks and text books. I am confident that Magzi and her 160 classmates will have a beautiful new school with books and furniture and many of the other things on her wish list by next summer.

The best part of this project is giving Magzi a platform to use her voice and to be heard. I am a passionate believer in the necessity of exposing kids to diverse stories so they may expand their worldview and cultivate empathy. I would never write Magzi’s story; it is hers and hers alone. All she needs is the audience, and I am doing my best to remain a silent facilitator.

This is my first video of this kind, and I am truly hoping that I can create it in a way that captures the beauty of Mikei, and the radiance of the children who live there. They made it as easy a possible. The footage is gorgeous, and I cannot wait to share it!

Magzi and her friends in their current school yard.

Magzi and her friends in their current school yard.






*The Kindness Challenge is a movement that encourages schools to devote one week each school year to performing as many acts of kindness as possible using a checklist of 50 suggestions. It’s free, fun, and transformational. Sign up your school here!