Community/#RAKE – Yoga Strong
|Each month at Yoga Strong we pick a local charity to give to via our community class donations. Community classes are held on Sundays from 1:00-1:45pm and are a $6 minimum donation. Please join us in May and June to help supper #RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere).
#RAKE @ YS Contest
Beginning May 1st we will be running a social media contest for everyone (not just yoga students) to take part in.
A random act of kindness can be anything at all. Paying a parking meter that is running out, buying a person who needs a lift a cup of coffee, carrying a senior’s groceries…the list goes on and on.
Giving foundation: Ricky Smith is a writer for the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim.” He’s also the founder of Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, or the R.A.K.E. Fund. Smith has embarked on a 16-city tour – doing random acts of kindness during his stops. Through his foundation, Smith has helped a family pay for a funeral, collected books for a youth center, outfitted a shelter with new bedding and thrown a pizza and dance party for a classroom of wheelchair-bound students. On his tour, Smith stopped at Levine Children’s Hospital where he met the Cupps.
Energetic and engaging: It was a typical Thursday. Kari Cupp took her daughters, Raegan, 10, and Avery, 7, to the children’s hospital in Charlotte. They were anticipating the hours-long infusion that Raegan gets weekly. As they walked into the hospital, the Cupps saw some commotion. They were gestured over by a hospital employee and introduced to Smith.
“He said. ‘Let’s have a dance party,’” Kari Cupp said. “He was very playful and energetic and very engaging.”
When Smith heard that it was time for Raegan’s treatment, he moved the dance party to her room. While talking to the girls, Smith learned that Raegan had recently celebrated a birthday. He gave each of the girls $20 as a gift. The girls refused the money, but Smith told them to take it and do something good with it.
Heartwarming break: The girls live at home in Stanley with their mom and their dad, Paul Cupp, and they attend Cramerton Christian School. They’re still holding onto the money that Smith gave them, but their mother predicts that Avery will give her money to church and that Raegan will choose an animal charity. The family spends a good deal of time on the road. In addition to Raegan’s weekly treatments in Charlotte, she also sees doctors at Duke University Medical Center in Durham.
The little girl is also a research patient which requires trips to Bethesda, Md. Spending the recent afternoon with an engaging, generous celebrity offered a heartwarming break from the routine, Kari Cupp said. “It was really great of him to take them out of their world, even if it was just for a few minutes,” she said.
You can reach Diane Turbyfill at 704-869-1817 and twitter.com/GazetteDiane.
Want to know more about Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere? The R.A.K.E. Fund can be found on Facebook, Twitter and at RakeNow.org.
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Ricky Smith stands in a darkened restaurant surrounded by Cajun decor and luxurious table settings. A small crowd of about 30 friends, acquaintances and strangers mills about. They are here, young and old, because of him, attracted by the entertainer’s jokes as much as his gregarious online persona. But on this morning, with light snow whipping past the windows of Jezebels Bayou, they aren’t here for comedy.
The group is making bagged lunches for the homeless, assembling bread, meat, mustard and mayo into culinary shields against the onslaught of the November frost. Most know each other from previous gatherings, but some are newcomers. Smith greets the unfamiliar with a cheesy icebreaker straight from summer camp, but delivered with absolute sincerity: “Tell us something embarrassing about yourself,” he prompts.
After a little mild-mannered teasing to dispel the awkwardness of first meetings, they too gather around the long table, putting chips, sandwiches, cookies and bottled water into paper bags. One group, huddled in a corner, writes encouraging notes to accompany the lunches. Over the course of the day, they will split up to distribute the 150 bagged lunches throughout the city.
With lunches packed, a group gathers to follow Smith downtown. It’s time for Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere.
For Smith, the founder of R.A.K.E., making lunches is about kindness, not just simple charity. Being a genuine person makes R.A.K.E. work, he says. “I’m not saying be holier-than-thou, I’m not saying walk on water, just do something.”
Less an organization and more a movement, R.A.K.E. encourages people to simply go out of the way and do something nice for someone else. Through his Twitter feeds @rickonia and @rakenow, Smith is spreading the gospel of goodness. With more than 22,900 combined followers, his feeds are littered with folks buying coffee and fast food for strangers, turning normal people into vigilantes of kindness.
A comedian of the digital age, Smith got his start on Twitter, yucking it up online and drawing blocks from the likes of President Barack Obama and Dan Gilbert before he was approached by Comedy Central execs. He made it to LA, and ended up writing for Adult Swim’s Black Dynamite. But he quickly got sick of the California life. To kill the boredom, he decided to hitchhike cross-country. He was amazed when strangers, connected by social media, came out of the woodwork to give him food and money. One man even lent him a Camaro ZL1.
After seeing what people did for him, Smith realized he was on to something. “The R.A.K.E. aspect is physically seeing the effect. Somebody’s house burns down. We can’t buy them a new house, but we can at least buy them new clothes. It’s the trickle-down effect of Well, I can help out my neighbor,” he says.
R.A.K.E. is gaining momentum. With the founding of the R.A.K.E. Fund, Smith is able to finance a nationwide blanket drive and assemble homeless kits — a collection of vital products such as toothpaste and hand warmers, worth $20, for those less fortunate. In the past few months, he’s raked leaves and dressed up as a superhero to cheer up children at the Cleveland Clinic. His acts are impromptu, born of spontaneity and mostly organized instantly via Twitter and Facebook.
Cloistered by the surrounding warehouses, the Men’s Shelter on Lakeside Avenue is overflowing. Men cram into the entrance hallway away from the biting cold, waiting to go through a metal detector. Smith makes his way inside. The lunches are gone in a minute. He stops to take some pictures, making faces and telling jokes. On the way out, Smith asks a staff member how many people are normally here. The staffer gestures to the maximum occupancy sign: 375.
“That’s how many we’ll bring next month,” he says