Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kindness Matters

Dear Life,

Two years ago,  Kumaka received a pair of shoes.  At first glance you can tell they were special.  They were hand painted after all. They had his name and all of his favorite things.  

They reminded him to be brave when he was in the hospital.  And they gave him courage when he was trying new things.

 The shoes were given to him by Peach's Neet Feet, a non profit that is founded by Madison "Peach" Steiner-Akins.  

"At a young age, Madison Steiner discovered that no matter what labels were assigned to her, the most important was the label she assigned to herself. This discovery led to her cultivating the label of kindness ambassador, which has grown into the creation of Peach’s Neet Feet. This organization provides custom, hand-painted shoes to children living with disabilities and fighting serious illnesses. What began as a love of art and giving has grown into a movement of kindness."
Peach's Neet Feet Website

The gift of shoes isn't the end of the story.  Truly it was the beginning.  The beginning of a life altering change, not only for Kumaka, but for our whole family.  The same year Kumaka received his shoes, Peach threw a very special Peach's Neet Feet Party in our town.  Kumaka was so excited to see his new friend.....

He gave her a big hug and kiss.  The first of many more to come! That day, he met many new friends, played games, had so much fun painting and doing crafts, and just got to be a kid!  As a parent, I got to meet new families, each battling their own wars, but doing so with grace and courage. Because of this Peach Party, we were able to connect in a way that would not have happened otherwise. The shoelace of kindness wove our community into one unit.  

Kumaka learned a very important lesson from "his" Peach.  He learned to be kind....to give back....and to be fierce.  

He has attended a few other Peach Parties, meeting new friends, reconnecting with old friends, and giving back.  He has been able to be a Shoe Fairy and he has donated his own money so other children can have special shoes like his.  

Because a very special young lady painted on shoes...gave away her art....and shared kindness....my son will be forever changed. One day he will be a leader....and I hope that the lessons he has learned about being kind....about giving to others.....that those will shape his heart and how he leads his generation.  

There is a reason I share our story of Peach's Neet Feet.  Peach works so hard to give to all of these children.  Sometimes the load is heavy.  And she needs help.  Our help.  Your help.  She needs funding.  She needs us all to share her story.  For kindness to keep moving forward, we need to share her story.  We need to shout from the rooftops how Peach's Neet Feet is changing people.  She is now a part of our Ohana (family in Hawaiian) and we do everything for our Ohana.  Please go on the Peach's Neet Feet Website and see how you can help.  And SHARE.  Please.  Our children need to  be taught kindness. They need to be taught that labels don't matter.  

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