We all want to do good in the world. It’s something young people aren’t given nearly enough credit for - our desire to create positive change, and fix the many issues we see around us. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know where to start, or whether our actions are significant enough to actually make a difference.
This week, I was lucky enough to interview Boomer Perault, founder of the non-profit organisation and social media movement 1 A Week, who told me a bit about his vision, and how kindness can come in all sizes.
First of all, what exactly is 1 A Week? Basically, it’s an organisation that raises awareness for mental health (nice!), and rewards acts of kindness with prizes (double nice!). And how does this work? According to Perault, “We encourage people to perform one act every week and share it with us on our Instagram or Facebook page... To keep it full circle, we have teamed up with sponsor companies and each week we give out a gift to a participant. Recipients of these gifts can elect to keep them or donate to a charity of their choice!”
“The goals of 1 a Week are simple. To get as many people as possible inspired to perform random acts of kindness, and also to build a community that people can come to for help, inspiration, positivity, etc.”
The origin of 1 A Week is just as inspiring as its message of positivity: “It all started back in 2016 when I wasn't in the highest of spirits. I found that of everything I did to feel better, nothing worked as well as doing something kind for someone else. I also heard a statistic on the radio, that a large percentage of suicide survivors that took part in a study, said that if someone had just smiled or said ‘hello’ to them the day they attempted, they don't think they would have gone through with it. Combining my experience with good deeds and this statistic, I came up with the general idea this past summer. I went to my friend, Derek, with this idea and he was on board to help start it up.”
The project is very recent, currently only in its seventh week running. And yet, in that time, 1 A Week has achieved some pretty impressive stuff! “The biggest success is just how many participants we've had thus far. Instagram, our more active platform, has had a little under 400 posts shared with us through these seven weeks. Some have been more ideas of random acts of kindness, others inspirational pieces, but the vast majority have been people performing good deeds!”
Of course, we at MentalMusic love seeing online content and platforms being used to promote positivity - our own organisation being built on this very principle. Perault shared his own experience with social media and social movements: “Social media has literally changed the game. You can reach thousands of people, anywhere in the world, with the click of a button. 1 A Week wouldn’t be anything more than a local thing if it were not for social media. It has given us the opportunity to connect with MentalMusic and everyone reading this!”
We’re definitely grateful to be able to connect with other great change makers like 1 A Week. With this in mind, I asked Perault for any advice we can all implement in our lives to make the world a better place. “Super simple, but the best way to make positive changes in not only your life, but the world, is to be kind, compassionate, and giving. Give just to give, with no expectation of receiving, and you'll coincidentally receive even more in return. Just doing anything for another individual is considered an act of kindness.”
A great organisation with a great message. So, how can you get involved? “We post several ideas a week on our Instagram, but to leave a few simple ones here; leave positive notes around a public place, pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru, pick up litter in a park, donate old clothes, write out positive cards and have them sent to military members or hospitals. The opportunities and options are endless!”
So, it really is that simple. With that advice under your belt, go out and make some change! We really do all have the power to put some positivity out there.
A massive thanks to Boomer Perault at 1 A Week - we’re really looking forward to the great things you have in store.
And to all our readers, even though Random Acts of Kindness day was last week, don’t let that stop you! Take this as a challenge to be the best version of yourself year-round. If you need some ideas for acts of kindness, just take a look at some of the previous submissions to 1 A Week for some inspiration. You never know - something small you do may just brighten someone’s day. And in the end, you’ve got nothing to lose. Good luck!