Submitted by Kelsey G. on January 21, 2016
My name is Nicole La Ha Zwiercan, and to me, kindness is life changing.
Before getting into why kindness is so important to me, I'd like to first say sadly, I wasn't always this way.
By no means did I go out of my way to be mean to people, but I didn't go out of my way to be kind either. As a victim of bullying in grade school and again as an adult at my first job as a new hygienist, I used to be embarrassed and ashamed this had happened to me. I believed I brought this upon myself in some way. I never really talked about it and harvested resentful emotions. Since then, I have realized that workplace bullying is far too common. The more I began to read and research the more I began to feel inspired & empowered.
After trying to reach out to active local anti-bullying groups with no luck, I decided it was time to do something. It was time for me to give back, and so my organization "Be Kind. Make A Difference." was born. Our mission focuses not only on bully prevention and awareness, but also on inspiring kindness, with children AND adults. One of the features of “Be Kind. Make a Difference” is visiting with schools throughout Illinois, and through my collaboration with “The Rainbow Rabbit” organization, I lead discussions on kindness, acceptance, and the celebration of our differences.
I not only hope to inspire these students to be brave and stand up for each other when it comes to bullying, but I also want to inspire them to create a community of kindness- even outside of school. I want to show them such a small, simple act of kindness can change someone's life in really a big way! Sometimes all it takes is just one person to be kind and break the cycle.
I do this with adults as well. A new feature of my organization I have plans to put in action this year is called the "Kindness Crew" here in Chicago. Whether it be through getting involved with volunteerism, hosting community events, or just committing random acts of kindness, we're going to be out and about bringing awareness, spreading kindness and hopefully inspiring others to do the same! Kindness doesn’t cost a thing, but can do SO much! I truly believe being kind can change someone's life- yours and theirs.
To read more about Nicole’s organization, visit: http://www.nicolelahazwiercan.com/