When the Center for Community Engagement put out the call for 75 Acts of Kindness to commemorate the university’s 75th anniversary, the campus community responded by going above and beyond.
Instead of just 75 acts of kindness, the campaign documented 159 acts of kindness, impacting more than 16,000 people in and around Pomona.
“The inspiration came from associate provost Claudia Pinter-Lucke, who saw a story of a girl celebrating her 22nd birthday by doing 22 Acts of Kindness. She immediately started thinking how Cal Poly Pomona could accomplish a similar feat in its anniversary year,” says Megan McDanel, volunteer coordinator at the Center for Community Engagement.
Students, staff and faculty showed their kindness, with 3,083 volunteers who donated more than 33,000 hours.
The projects ranged from philanthropy efforts to donation drives to service events.
People showed it doesn’t take a lot of time to have a large impact.
When Tracy Dean, a training and business continuity analyst in human resource services, attended a workshop featuring the 75 Acts of Kindness project, she was inspired to start a project and get multiple colleagues in her department involved.
“I felt motivated to reach out to my department to complete an act of kindness in the surrounding community,” she says. Dean along with Maribel Nerio and several members from the team hand-wrote cards of encouragement to the terminally ill and their family members.
Dean left boxes of blank cards in the office, and sent emails encouraging her colleagues to take a moment to write a note that would brighten someone’s day. These notes were uplifting reminders to stay strong for patients who were near the end of life, and the loved ones who are by their side.
Dean reminded her co-workers that “Each act of kindness enables our department to tangibly reach out to the community in a positive impactful way.”
The department sent more than 150 cards.
Students from Jennifer Amaya’s Music 394S class brought inspiration to the third-grade students of Kingsley Elementary.
The students are at a key junction. In fourth grade, the students will have the opportunity to join the school orchestra, and the Cal Poly Pomona students introduced them to music through activity stations.
“It sparks their creativity and gets them excited, and not in a ‘I’ve had too much sugar kind of way,’ but excited in a way that keeps their mind engaged.” Amaya says. “And you see our students change as well. You see them getting better at interacting with the kids, and they realize that they have knowledge that they can share.”
After the Cal Poly Pomona students brought the music to the kids, enrollment in orchestra doubled the following year.
“It takes my breath away, how just a little bit of time – an hour or two – can make such a huge difference.”
Amaya says that the project has given her a newfound sense of community.
“One of the best things about 75 Acts of Kindness is that service to the community by Cal Poly Pomona volunteers and service-learning students is nothing new or unusual,” McDanel says. “This is who we are at Cal Poly Pomona. Our university’s collaborative partnerships in our community will continue to grow in the coming years.”
For more information on how to get involved with the community, visit the Center for Community Engagement.