Andrew Dunn, 14, of Louisville, Ky., an eighth-grader at Barret Traditional Middle School, started a citywide campaign to mobilize students and other community members to perform random acts of kindness throughout the year. Andrew got the idea four years ago when his parents set up an Advent calendar that challenged him to do something nice for someone every day in December. He came up with ideas such as anonymously leaving donuts for neighbors. “This got me thinking about the impact we could have if I could get all my friends involved,” Andrew said.
Calling his campaign RAK Louisville (“Random Acts of Kindness”), he set up a website, app and social media offering ideas on how to make a positive difference in someone’s day, and talked to friends, classmates, neighbors and his soccer team about his project. Andrew worked with the mayor’s office to have December 23 proclaimed as Random Acts of Kindness Louisville Day, and two TV stations interviewed him. Today, he and the RAK Club at his school identify student-friendly service opportunities throughout the year and mobilize individuals and teams to work on a variety of projects, many of which benefit organizations serving homeless and other people in need. One of their bigger projects was organizing a Thanksgiving dinner for 168 homeless people. Andrew said he hopes RAK will expand beyond Louisville’s borders. “People want to serve but they just don’t know how to start,” he said.