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An Act Of Kindness For The Birds


If you are someone who is very attached to your non-human animals, you will appreciate Jenny Durbin’s story. I had asked her to recall a time when she was on the receiving end of kindness.
This is what she shared…

Jenny Durbin: in her own words…

Jenny Durbin shared how she was the recipient of a random act of kindness when someone she barely knew took in Jenny's chickens.After researching the care and feeding of chickens, I double checked my city’s ordinance and found it was legal to keep a small flock of the birds, so long as they were well housed and cared for. So, I ordered 6-day-old chicks which arrived in the mail. Two years later, however, now completely attached to and enamored of my darling hens, the city council changed the ordinance making chicken keeping illegal.

Heartbroken and more than a little miffed, a friend, with whom I’d only recently become acquainted, offered to take in my illegal chickens and to house them and their considerable coop in her yard.

It was such a huge thing, a selfless thing, kindly, heartfelt, charitable. Never has my need been so great and the answer so unlikely, but there it was, “Yes”, a willingness to help. It left me not only deeply, endlessly grateful, but ever more open and willing to also step up, to help when I might otherwise not. ♡


So Much PETential Cincinnati dog training

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Cincinnati Nonprofit Focus: Assistance League


Heard about the Assistance League?

The Assistance League is an all volunteer nonprofit organization in Greater Cincinnati  and its signature program is Operation School Bell has provided new school uniforms to 1,908 students during the 2014 to 2015 school year. The organization has helped the children in need in 35 public and parochial schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. Each school uniform consists of short and long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, underwear, a belt, a fleece jacket and a pair of shoes. Individuals and grantors enthusiastically support this program which directly impacts a child by providing an essential need – clothing. Learn more:

Cincinnati nonprofit - Assistance League

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Oklahoma Restaurateur’s Note Of Kindness Teaches Us A Lesson


By now, you may have already seen this photo as it has gone viral since being displayed outside P.B. Jams, an Oklahoma restaurant, and on Facebook.

Oklahoma Restaurant Owner Writes Note For Dumpster DiverThe restaurant’s owner, Ashley Jiron, posted it after realizing an anonymous person had been sifting through her garbage. She told ABC News of how her heart sank when she noticed bags and containers in her dumpster that once held disposed food, were emptied. “I knew I needed to do something right away,” she said.

Perhaps that person’s plight struck her so deeply because Ashley understood better than most.

“I am a mother of two little girls and I’ve struggled like a lot of single parents out there, and I’ve had to ask for state assistance food stamps and such,” she told Good Morning America. “Sometimes at the end of the month there wasn’t enough to feed me and my family. Something as simple as even just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is very comforting to somebody and maybe even offer them a few words.”

It got me thinking, of the times in my own life when I have faltered. I will never forget the people who were there for me with support and encouragement, even when I didn’t ask for it. They were just there. They grounded me and kept me focused in a positive direction. Those acts of love and kindness embed in our souls.

They strengthen us. They nurture us. They give us wings.

There is something so powerful about our human connection. Often we don’t even know of the impact we are having on those whose lives we touch. But make no mistake; kindness has huge potential for affecting change in individuals, families, workplaces, classrooms, and the community.

And the giver can be just as much the receiver as its effects boomerang. Helping someone else has a way of lifting ourselves up as well, even more so sometimes when we are dealing with our own challenge.

Yet, how often is it that we know someone may be going through difficult circumstances but in our busy and already cluttered lives, we don’t reach out.  Not because we are not generous people. We just don’t get around to it for any number of reasons.

Ashley and her compassionate sign that has been seen around the country, maybe even the world, make me question – if the tables were turned, if I had seen that someone had been rummaging through my garbage, would I have posted a sign like hers.

The truth is, in my life, I have been a shoulder for so many people. I have mentored youth. I have given of my time and resources to help people when they needed it. I have encouraged others to see their own strengths when they were focused on their weaknesses. I have volunteered for causes when I can.

But…I may not have thought to put that sign on my restaurant door if I noticed someone had gone through my trash.

I am so inspired by Ashley’s gesture. Whether or not that anonymous person comes forward, Ashley has reminded me of the power we each have to impact those around us.

Let’s make a point to not forget.

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Cincinnati Youth Collaborative Reminds Us To Appreciate Volunteers


This is National Volunteer Week, seven days of celebrating the good will of millions across the country who have given of their time, their hearts, and their resources to enhance lives and causes that are meaningful to them.

Locally, large and small nonprofit organizations working to improve neighborhoods, strengthen families, save non-human animals, and lift people up could quite simply not do their very important work without the generosity of others.  More than 8000 people give of their time to the FreeStore FoodBank alone. And that is just one of hundreds of causes in our Greater Cincinnati area.

Tonight I am told the staff and board members of nonprofit Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, that has empowered more than 160,000 vulnerable children and young adults since its founding through the mentorship of positive adult role models, will be very busy.  They will be calling EVERY active CYC volunteer and thanking each one for his/her time and effort.

Wow, that is a lot of phone calls!

They will be reaching out to people like Harry Blanton, a CYC mentor for 18 years. His first mentee was Patrick, who at nine years old had an incarcerated father and a mother struggling with addiction. Thanks to Blanton’s influence in his life, Patrick Patrick and his Cincinnati Youth Collaborative mentor Harry Blantonattended St. Xavier High School, then Xavier University, and is now a financial counselor pursuing a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He and Harry are still close, and even recently attended CYC’s Trivia Night for Brighter Futures together, playing on the same team. “It is a joy to have Patrick in my life and I can’t imagine it without him,” said Harry.

The feeling is shared by Patrick. “I am an example that even though the cards are stacked against you, you can succeed if you have the right people on your side,” he attested. “CYC provided that person to me: Harry Blanton.”

Success stories like theirs is not uncommon at CYC. Just last fall, former mentee Lamont got married with his mentor Tim Clarke by his side – as none other than his best man. Matched when Lamont was just 13, the resulting relationship was so important to Lamont that instead of wedding favors, he gave a gift to CYC in honor of every wedding guest.

The gesture’s weight was not lost on Tim. “When I saw on the place setting the little card, I was unable to give the regular Lamont Watkins and his Cincinnati Youth Collaborative mentor Tim Clarkespeech I had prepared,” he said. “I just had to thank him. For him to want a gift to give to CYC for this to happen to someone else—I got emotional. It was a great day.”

Volunteers are everywhere

These are such beautiful stories. And with those two, there are thousands more too of people all around us, and even ourselves, who are making a positive difference.

The dictionary definition of a volunteer is: a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself a service or undertaking.  This means that to be a volunteer doesn’t necessarily mean you are going through a social service agency. It is as simple as an act of kindness to a stranger on the street or an extended hand or ear to a friend or loved one who needs someone to be there.

Today, let’s celebrate those wonderful gifts. But also, let’s commit to finding ways of giving those gifts every day.

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Tara The Beagle Gets Prosthetic Legs And A New Life


There is something truly special about animal lovers. This sweet dog, Tara was found clinging to life on the grounds of a Romanian hospital. She had gangrene on all four legs and her front two legs were rotted to the bone. While veterinary surgeons were able to save those back two legs, the front two needed to be amputated.

That is where Kelly Hare came into the picture. Kelly runs a British nonprofit called Safe Rescue For Dogs, and no sooner did she hear about dear Tara’s plight did Kelly jump into motion, raising £3,000 to not only save the Beagle mix but to also make it possible for Tara to be fitted with two prosthetic legs.

These days Tara runs and plays just like her friends. And by the way, Kelly has grown so fond of Tara that it looks like they’ve found a forever home together. Life is good again.Tara the beagle mix with prosthetic legs

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