I’ll Give You a Megaphone…

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.  Have you ever been suffering from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and then just as it hits the apex of dreadfulness when your heavy Trader Joe’s bag bursts open at the bottom, and your groceries crash onto the pavement, a kind man comes over to help gather the mound, and suddenly everything seems okay?

We’ve all been there, and we all appreciate it when there’s some spark of hope to allay the bad, or even just blah, spells.  This is why I absolutely love Improv Everywhere’s “Say Something Nice” campaign.

Created as a part of Guggenheim Museum’s stillspotting nyc exhibition, “the project [that] takes the museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies programming out into the streets of the city’s five boroughs…using ‘stillspots,’ which are identified, created, or transformed by architects, artists, designers, composers, and philosophers into public tours, events, or installations.”

Though the hustle-and-bustle of city-living can be exciting, it can also take its toll on both sightseers and natives alike.  This particular crusade offers a small yet curious release from the typical hullabaloo, and if nothing more, gets people talking:

Side note: if anyone can tell what the little boy is saying from 1:44-1:51, please let me know.  That’s probably my favorite part just because it’s so funny and cute, but I keep replaying it and still for the life of me cannot make out his little yelp!

*Smile Tip #7:* You don’t need a megaphone to announce your message – if you pass a stranger on the street, someone in class, or a fellow employee that looks (or even doesn’t look) like they could use a little pick-me-up, shoot them a thoughtful compliment.  You’ll have them smiling in no time.

A Journey of Empowerment

My big sister is one of the most incredible people I know.  On top of being extremely down-to-earth, talented, and bright, she is also a real-life superwoman.  When we were younger, there were a number of tell-tale signs disclosing this destiny; some of which included playing “teacher” with me using the huge chalkboard in our basement (which, by the way, made it all the more legitimate), staying awake until ridiculous hours of the night/morning to relentlessly study for whatever class or AP exam was imminent, and juggling being Student Council Vice President while also dancing and teaching dance classes on nearly full-time hours, five days a week.  As she sunk her
feet into her adult years, this drive and energy for meaningful success did not cease, and what it sparked was her very own charitable organization: Storybuilding Foundation.

After years of brainstorming while working in the non-profit world and also dancing for a well-known sports team, the timing, impetus, and intention finally felt right.  Since the arts had always been significant part of her life (at one point during her teenage years she even pondered pursuing dance therapy as a career path), the idea for StoryBuilding Foundation took flight naturally.  Essentially, the charity facilitates a personal journey through the arts, empowering young individuals in underserved areas of each city, state, or country by fusing together community, spirit, and life.

Through conducting workshops that explore tools and techniques around action planning, creative thinking, and journaling, participants are provided with an outlet to begin taking control of their unwritten future.  As people learn more about themselves, build confidence to express who they are, conquer fear, challenge the norm – and do it in their own way – they are better positioned to help others do the same.  The goal of the organization is to help individuals discover the voice of their character, the setting of their plot, and that our beliefs, choices, and actions lead to experiences that fill a new page in our storybook.

Right now, my sister is in Haiti marking the launch of StoryBuilding Foundation’s oversees program, bringing it to orphanages and tent cities greatly impacted by the earthquake.  I have yet to get a full report, but the following is a taste of the experience thus far:

“There are no words to describe what has happened on this trip. The pictures will provide a glimpse of a moment, our blogs will recount a memory, our hearts will hold the experiences – to allow our future words and actions to carry the energy and love of our individual and collective story.”

*Smile Tip #5:* Pictures are worth a thousand words…

Visit Storybuilding Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter pages to learn more about how you can help, or feel free to make a direct donation – any little bit helps keep those smiles alive!