Tuesday November 19, 2019
Kindness is cool. Just ask our kids.
Phoenix Kenny, his Mom, Brittany Shropshire, and their family have loved living at Starkey Ranch since 2017. Brittany says, “Phoenix is a really friendly kid, so he already has the natural traits of being kind. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 4 and just turned 7. Wearing an insulin pump and glucose monitor sparked questions from kids in his VPK class, so Phoenix has enjoyed teaching kids about Diabetes ever since. He never saw it as something to be embarrassed by.”The family is very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Phoenix says one of the coolest things he’s gotten to do is be in a video series called Brave Me that helps newly diagnosed kids prepare for life with a medical condition. When live action puppets asked him questions, he assured them, “Diabetes isn’t scary. It's no big deal and you always have your parents and doctors to help you.” Phoenix’s advice about how to get started sharing kindness? “Copy kind things. Don't copy bullies. Copy people who are being kind.” For his birthday party at Starkey Ranch District Park, he thought donations to JDRF would be better than presents. Happy birthday, Phoenix!
The power of kindness is picking up. Starkey Ranch resident Jackie Keenan and her friend and neighbor Caroline Salsbury literally go after kindness as a ‘pick me up.’ You’ll often see them picking up litter with enthusiasm, laughing and having a great time all around the area.
Jackie in particular is passionate about her pastime. “I’m a nurse, but if I could pick up litter full time I would,” she says. “I enjoy looking around and seeing everything clean and beautiful. I’ve been doing this all my life.” Caroline, long a teacher of English as a second language, says, “Jackie is such an inspiration. She makes me laugh. She’ll go out for an hour that’s big on exercise then she comes and gets me and off we go.” At Starkey Ranch, neighbors become lifelong friends. Jackie and Caroline are proof of that. And of how much fun it can be doing something kind for the environment. “Sometimes Caroline and I do the whole length of 54,” Jackie says. “It so great here. Neighbors wave, beep and give you a thumbs up and we get to wave right back.”
When kindness calls, our whole community shows up!
For Elisa Rzymski and her daughters, Sofia (13), Isabel (10) and Lucia (4), kindness isn’t for a day or a week, it’s a whole way of life. Especially at Starkey Ranch. Last New Year’s Day was a perfect example. Elisa and the girls planned a golf cart parade to honor their friend and neighbor, 13-year-old Ali Spears who was fighting leukemia. They put the event together in two days with hopes of cheering Ali and her parents. “The whole community came out,” says Elisa with emotion. “All the golf carts! All the kids with signs for Ali!” When a local news team showed up, Elisa declined being interviewed, “It was Ali’s day.”
When they learned that Ali was ill, Sofia and Isabel wondered if she’d like to be a Girl Scout. Turns out it was Ali’s life dream. The three girls bonded, worked on the badges and when Ali became an official Girl Scout in the hospital, the whole staff cheered. “We always celebrate World Kindness Day,” says Elisa. “But everyday living at Starkey Ranch is a real example of the good in the world. What neighbors! We went on a Cuba trip and when people found out, they donated four suitcases of items to help. Another neighbor was going to Haiti and her whole garage was filled with donations.” As Isabel and Sofia say, “Do something to make someone smile. Kindness makes you feel good!” From all of us at Starkey Ranch, Happy Kindness Season! Pass it on and see what happens. Let us know, we’d love to hear.