The Kindness Project - How One Little Boy Plans to Change the World
by Jean Van Kleek
Every now and then we get the opportunity to meet an extraordinary human being. Not because they are famous, or even necessarily accomplished, but rather, someone who truly exemplifies the human spirit and what it is meant to be in it’s purest form. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting one of these extraordinary people in a young fellow named Kaz Raham. Kaz is an eleven -year-old boy with a very old soul. He has received a substantial amount of press for his “Kindness Rocks Project”. Kaz is completely unaffected by the attention and is quick to add he just wants to spread kindness, and if the media helps spread his message faster, that’s great. Kaz watched a you-tube video about how painting inspiring messages on rocks and placing them at random locations, sharing them with others to help lift them up. This idea excited him, so he decided to try it as well. He and his mother, Shelley, started painting rocks and distributing them throughout parks, senior centres, hospitals and cancer treatment centres.
Kaz is very serious about his mission to spread kindness. His mom says it began several years ago. As soon as he was able to walk and talk, Kaz would politely say to her when they were in public “Excuse me mom, I have to go give that man a hug, I’ll be right back”. And off he would go. She said sometimes the outings took much more time than planned because Kaz would go sit with people, hold their hand, or give hugs. She laughs as she added “Sometimes people weren’t quite sure how to react”. Kaz was born wanting to help people, and now the rocks have provided him the tools to spread the word.
While Kaz enjoyed the results of his efforts, he felt it wasn’t enough, and that it needed to be larger than what he could do on his own. He decided to approach the principal at his school to introduce the Kindness Project to other students. The Fleetwood Bawden principal was impressed with Kaz’s passion and goals and together they put the project into place, having most of the classes from kindergarten to grade five signing up. The principal said if Kaz brings the rocks, he would bring the paint. Kaz and Shelley brought 650 rocks from Burnco as well as additional supplies and brushes. During each class, Kaz would bring his supplies and begin his presentation by showing the you-tube video that inspired him as well as a video he created himself. This was followed by a class discussion on kindness, giving back and what they could write on the rocks. It turned into something very big, and very positive.
While Kaz can seem a bit shy in normal conversation, when he speaks about the kindness project, he is very serious, focused, and on a mission. When asked what he would like to do when he grows up, without missing a beat, Kaz says “I’m doing it already”. His life’s goal is to spread kindness in whatever way he can. His Kindness Project is already going beyond Lethbridge. He has been approached by a brownie troupe in Calgary to send a video for kids to watch so they too could do the rocks. Over the past few weeks, Kaz has been painting rocks that he and his mom will deliver to two Wellspring locations in Calgary. Wellspring is a facility where those living with cancer as well as those caring for them can stay.
This little guy is willing to talk to anyone, anywhere to help bring some light to the world. What makes his story even more poignant to me was finding out he has been bullied at school. Rather than fight and return the cruelty, Kaz says “I just keep being nice to them until they like me”. Shelley says of her son, “He's always followed his heart and his little mind thinks bigger and he has no fear when his heart leads him”. In a world where much seems dreary and out of our control, this little boy is here to remind us we don't need to succumb to what is going on around us, we need only be a light for someone else, and positive change is inevitable.
Kaz is living proof that not all angels have wings, and that each of us has the power to make a difference to someone, somewhere. And in the end, we really can make the world a better place just by being better ourselves.