Every April, Country Meadows observes Practice Random Acts of Kindness month in honor of its co-founder, Mary Jane Leader. As the wife of Governor George Leader, she enjoyed the duties as First Lady while living in the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg. Mrs. Leader was known as a kind and caring person, and received many honors including being named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.
In recognition of Mary Jane Leader’s numerous activities and volunteer work to help other people, Country Meadows of Leader Heights has developed its own activities showing kindness to others. Some of them are ongoing – like Helping Hands for the Hungry, baking goodies for service personnel, making and selling peanut butter eggs with the proceeds going to the Central PA Food Bank, and gathering blankets to distribute as a service project.
We also have an active Back Pack Committee that gets supplies and blankets for the SPCA. Last year the residents handed out smiley stickers at the mall. Simple acts of kindness can be anything as simple as a warm smile or greeting to a stranger, or holding the door open for someone, or even checking on a neighbor to make sure all is well.
This April, residents assembled Goodie Bags and took them to local service personnel, police and ambulance workers. And shoppers at the mall received flowers with uplifting messages attached. These residents are all volunteers who like to help others, and they’re finding that their volunteering is good for them, too.
Research shows that volunteering helps improve your mood, makes you feel healthier, increases your sense of purpose and reduces your stress levels. It can also give you a deep sense of happiness – immediately and long term. When we share our time and talents we solve problems, strengthen communities, improve lives, connect to others and transform our own lives.
As we age we can be faced with mental, physical, and health challenges. Volunteering is a way we can offset these challenges. Mary Jane Leader found personal pleasure in being kind to others, and discovered a joy from serving others. Residents at Country Meadows can experience that same joy through volunteering and doing random acts of kindness to anyone, and everyone. It’s a joy that cannot be replicated.
As an old TV commercial once said – “Try it! You’ll like it!”