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Practice random acts of kindness

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Ecumenical Retirement Community residents make a tie blanket that was donated
to a local homeless shelter.

In honor of co-founder Mary Jane Leader, Ecumenical Retirement Community and its affiliate, Country Meadows Retirement Communities, have designated April as Practice Random Acts of Kindness Month. Mrs. Leader and her husband, the late Gov. George M. Leader, founded the organizations upon treating people with kindness.

During this month, and always, Ecumenical Retirement Community encourages co-workers, residents and their families, to remember the little things that can truly brighten someone’s day, and invite all to commit a kind act. Random acts of kindness can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, helping someone with their groceries or just paying a visit.

“I am encouraged and inspired when I observe and everyday act of kindness—big or small—by a co-worker or a stranger. It reminds me of my parents’ compassion and what they instilled in my family and in turn, the Ecumenical and Country Meadows cultures,” says President & CEO Michael Leader, Ecumenical Retirement Community and Country Meadows Retirement Communities.

Acts of kindness aren’t about money, or even planning. It’s about finding a moment to make a small difference in another person’s life. Some ideas from residents and co-workers include:
•    Passing out flowers to random shoppers at a local grocery store.
•    Returning a shopping cart to the store.
•    Picking up the tab for the car behind you in a drive-thru line.
•    Giving busy clerks a smile.
•    Sharing your umbrella.

For the past 13 years, Ecumenical Retirement Community has had a Secret Santa who puts a new top, shirt or sweater in residents’ closets on Christmas Day. This kind act has been done by a co-worker’s 88-year-old family member. The co-worker mentioned to the family member about some residents not getting any company on Christmas or on other days. She was so upset by this that she quietly has been giving the co-worker money to gift the residents that won’t have a visitor on Christmas something nice to wear on that day. The co-worker shares, “My family member would not want me to tell anyone about this, but I feel I have to pass it on and let others know how happy our residents are when they open their closet and see the beautiful new piece of clothing from our Secret Santa. God Bless the Kind Hearted.”

Leader shares a kind example from the Country Meadows of York campus. “I recently learned about a kind act in which a resident was waiting to meet her friend for their weekly lunch out during which the friend always treats. One of our drivers, aware of this ritual, greeted her as usual and chatted with her until her friend arrived. Right before the ladies left, he gave the resident $20 so she could treat her friend that day!” he says, “The resident was moved to tears and smiled from ear to ear. What a simple yet beautiful way to express his compassion.”

Everyone is encouraged to join in the kindness. Start by stopping the Ecumenical Retirement Community front desk or your local Country Meadows Retirement Community, where you can pick up free window clings and bumper stickers displaying this simple yet powerful message. Kindness cards also are available to give to those in need of a pick-me-up.

If you would like to share an act you observed or one in which you practiced, please share it with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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