At Life is Good, our mission is to spread the power of optimism. We believe in acknowledging both obstacles and opportunities, but focusing on the opportunities because what you focus on grows!

We asked our community to tell us what they would do to #GROWtheGood in your community and Life is Good gave 10 people $1,500 to make it happen!

Thanks to our partners from Eastern Bank, Coco Community and the Born This Way Foundation for joining our mission to help #GROWtheGood in your community.








Celebrate the good every day by tagging your photos with #ThisIsOptimism


We believe in doing good things to help people prosper. As the oldest mutual bank in the country, and one of the largest community banks in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, providing financial support is only part of our story. Eastern Bank donates an average of 10% of its’ net profit to over 1600 local charities each year, since 1999. To learn more we invite you to #JoinUsForGood and visit



We call our refreshing organic coconut water Coco Community because community is truly the heart of what we do. Our mission is to empower farmers and their families by supporting local grower initiatives that will nurture long-term socio-economic development for the Ratchaburi community. This is all possible through our partnership with Fair for Life and the proceeds from our loyal consumers. Together, we all strive to build a larger community of farmers, coconut water drinkers and brands that believe in and celebrate the inherent good of people and nature.

Opt-into Optimism

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I wonder "What happens to these crayons after we leave?" Thats what I asked myself one evening while out dining with my family. Sadly I learned that many restaurants discard crayons after only one sitting even if they are untouched. And because crayons are not environmentally friendly they turn into a waxy sludge that clogs up landfills and never biodegrades. I took those crayons home with me that night convinced that the life of a restaurant crayon doesn't have to end there. It became my personal mission to find a creative way to recirculate an endless supply of free art materials to children everywhere. And thus The Crayon Initiative was born. The Crayon Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in Danville Calf. that reduces environmental waste by remanufacturing used crayons into new crayons and donating them to art therapy programs in children's hospitals across the country. We work with dozens of organizations in the local community including school groups Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts churches and businesses who volunteer at our facility each week helping to sort mold and ship new crayons. To date The Crayon Initiative has collected 11.5 million used crayons from restaurants schools and homes. More than 100,000 pounds of crayons have been prevented from going into landfills. The Crayon Initiative would use this $1 500 to help with costs to remanufacture package and ship crayons to reach more children's hospitals across the U.S. The Crayon Initiative covers all costs to the hospital including shipping. They never see a bill.

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?
I have always been into art. This was my “escape” throughout my education. In school, I wasn’t the “in a box” student who easily sat down and wrote reports. You wanted a report about castles, instead of writing something, I’d build you a castle and show you how and why everything worked the way it did! In 2011, art was cut from the California school budget and I wanted to find a way to give back to various art programs. The Crayon Initiative became my way. Take an underutilized resource headed for the landfill and turn it into something good.

How are you hoping your community responds?
My community has responded with open arms to The Crayon Initiative. Volunteers come every day to help turn unwanted crayons into new ones which are then donated to children’s hospitals across the country. I get emails from all around the world asking how they can help with our mission or duplicate it in their region. It’s been amazing to see how others want to help grow The Crayon Initiative.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?
In my life, I’ve focused both on the bad as well as the good. Both cause exhaustion, but when you do good, you see others benefit and smile from it. You feel that positive energy. Energy which provides the motivation to constantly do better no matter how tired you are.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?
There are several of these superpowers which I identify with, but the one that stands out the most is creativity. I truly believe there is always a new or different way to do things. In order to see past how things are currently done, you have to have creativity.

"I am the camp director for Camp Sunburst a summer camp for kids impacted HIV in Northern California. $1500 would allow us meet the needs of our campers such as swimsuits beach towels sleeping bags and basic necessities. Some of our campers come with nothing for a week long camp. Thank you for all you do to help others. Kindly Samantha Voelkel (Bumble Buttercup)"

What inspired you to choose this goal or action? 
I love Life is Good and the positive messages your company promotes. I was blessed to be raised by philanthropic humanitarians and strive to continue their great work and keep paying it forward. I am the camp director for Camp Sunburst a therapeutic summer camp that serves children impacted by HIV/AIDS. I have been following your inspiring Grow the Good campaign and jumped at the opportunity to be participate and Grow the Good!

How are you hoping your community responds?

The generous gift to Grow the Good will allow me to provide our campers with much needed items for a week at summer camp. Many campers come without basic items such as swimsuits, sleeping bags and pillows, towel, toiletries, etc.. Your gift will allow me to allocate some of our funds for other items such as arts and craft supplies, instruments for our music program and sports equipment.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?

Several years ago I decided to become a Rebel of Kindness and started building an Army. I believe in the power of kindness and its power to change the world. Last year’s Camp theme was Operation Kindness. Every cabin had a top secret “Mission Possible” every morning to practice virtues and be kind.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

Empathy is my Super Power. I feel deeply (which can be a blessing and sometimes a curse) This year at camp we are focusing on making connections and having empathy, because last year we learned that being kind, while important isn’t enough. We need to start reconnecting and having more empathy.

Anything else you’d like to share?

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you. Life is Good tees are my daily wardrobe at camp because I can match my message of the day with my mood and goals.

"I am the PE teacher at Edgewater Elementary which is a Title I school in Edgewater CO. Everyday my students come into the gym ready to learn and move. No matter what happens in their life outside of school my students have smiles on their faces. The choices I have in equipment are not always the best with some of it on the verge of being unusable my students never complain. I could use $1500 to buy so many types of equipment both things we don't have as well as replacing some of the older items. My students are always talking about American Ninja Warrior and Gymnastics and I would love to be able to teach them. However we don't have the mats or equipment to do so. I would purchase new mats boxes and mini hurdles which could be used for the units the kids would love to do but so many others as well. My students deserve so much and I want to be able to provide them with the best learning opportunities and the best equipment."

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?

My students inspired me to choose this goal because they always come to PE class eager to learn different skills and activities, but the equipment available didn’t always match up with what I wanted to teach. Teaching at a Title I elementary school constantly has me thinking outside the box to teach what the students are interested in, and I find that my students are the ones that provide those out of the box ideas. Not once have I heard a student complain about the equipment used in class, but I know that they deserve so much more than what we have to work with. My students have inspired me to find a way to improve their learning environment and provide them with even more opportunities to learn and grow.

How are you hoping your community responds?

I am hoping that the community responds with excitement! At times it is the smallest things that provide us with excitement and happiness, and #GROWtheGood is providing me the opportunity to give something a little bit bigger back to the community. And even better, the equipment I will be able to purchase for the gym will give that sense of excitement and happiness every time the students get to use it in PE class.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?

Focusing on the good is important because it not only makes you feel good, but those around you as well. As you focus on the good, it grows, allowing less negativity into your life. As the good grows, others around you focus on the good and help it grow. The more people that focus on the good the bigger it grows. A life focused on the good is a happy life. If every person focused on the good we would have a world of happiness.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

The superpower I identify with is compassion because I think the most important thing you can do in life is help those around you. The number of ways you can help somebody are infinite, and sometimes it is as simple as a smile. Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs because every day I feel that I am helping my students grow. When a student walks into my class, I might not know what they are going through at home, but I know that for 45 minutes they will get to have fun and learn how to get moving. I don’t just teach PE as the PE teacher, but I also teach how to be caring, how to be kind, how to work together, how to persevere, how to think outside of the box, and so many other skills that help students grow as people. There are students who do everything they can to push your buttons, but those are often the students who needs the most compassion.  It isn’t always easy being a teacher, but there is nothing more rewarding than being somebody who helps students learn and grow  Some days are harder than others, but every day is an opportunity to show compassion.

Anything else you’d like to share?

People have always joked that my world is filled with sunshine and rainbows and that I live in a bubble of positivity. Life Is Good is a company that makes my sunshine a little bit brighter. I can’t thank the company enough for the happiness their clothes provide me, and the conversations they start with me and my students. I can’t thank Life Is Good and #GROWtheGood for the brightness they have left on me and the community at Edgewater Elementary.


"As an avid gardener I wanted to make a difference in the overall health of my community. St. Louis has a large percentage of families faced with food insecurity and many low-income families and children struggling with obesity. Over the past five years I took the initiative to donate build plant and harvest 35 organic sustainable vegetable gardens at low income daycares and offered 175 workshops on plant science cooking and nutrition to both children and their families at these sites. I donated over 35 000 pounds of produce to food banks from the gardens and recruited 752 youth including at-risk teens youth with special needs and students representing every race religion and socio-economic group to help expand the project. In many parts of the St. Louis region children lack direct access to nature and the freedom to explore plants and insects. My goal was not only to donate vegetables from the gardens but to also utilize these gardens as outdoor hands-on learning laboratories for the young children. The gardens provide a ideal space for children to experiment learn process and see the direct impact of their actions. These vegetable gardens serve as the intersection where public health meets social action."

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?

St. Louis, MO has a huge percentage of families struggling to feed their families and a large number of children that are struggling with obesity. I wanted to make a difference in my community by donating, building raised vegetable garden beds and growing vegetable gardens at low-income daycares to teach young children about the benefits of growing and eating fresh vegetables. I donate all the produce to area food banks.

How are you hoping your community responds?

The young children and their families and the teachers at the daycare sites have responded with huge appreciation for the vegetable gardens and the donations of produce to local food banks. To date I have donated 35 vegetable gardens and over 35,000 pounds of fresh produce to area food banks.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good? Too much of our focus in this world is on the terrible and negative news. We need to focus on the positive and good actions that ordinary people take every day in their communities around the world to promote good and kindness.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

I try to identify with humor. The world is a better place when we all laugh and enjoy life.

Anything else you’d like to share? I so appreciate this opportunity to expand my garden project to five more gardens at low-income daycares in the St. Louis region with your generous funding.


"My "community" is rather large because I run a small organization known as Drawn To Help. We take professional cartoonists and illustrators to visit children in hospitals in 7 states now. And each child we see gets a free pack of nontoxic latex-free art supplies that they can keep. I would use the entire $1 500 to purchase more contents for the gift packs so we could reach another 150 pediatric patients with our cartooning fun and the healing power of creativity."

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?

When a dear friend's teenage son was diagnosed with leukemia, she mentioned the impact she saw art programs have on the lives of young patients, and suggested that I might want to visit hospitals from time to time and draw cartoons with the children there.  The response I got from treatment facilities and the children convinced me that this was something I needed to grow into something much larger and long-lasting.

How are you hoping your community responds?

I'd love to see the support come in to enable us to spread these fun and inspiring cartooning programs to children in hospitals across the entire country, and eventually around the world.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?

With so much bad news bombarding us every day, focusing on the good is uplifting, inspiring and motivating.  It helps us all see how our lives are intertwined, and that each and every one of us can make the world a better place - even with just small acts of kindness each day.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

I actually identify with each "superpower" you've listed, for different reasons.

Courage - I see courage in every child I visit in the hospitals.  They are often battling for their lives, yet they face each day and each new battle with a strength that others rarely get to see.

Authenticity - I get to be myself around the children I serve.  They've learned not to be judgmental of others, and have also learned to be their authentic selves, often expressing compassion and understanding               towards others that's well beyond their years.

Fun - The young patients I work with and draw with are able to relish each moment of joy they have, and  share their laughter with me.  We don't dwell on negative things.  We just have fun and share pleasant distraction.

Love - Everything I do with these programs is done out of love.  And the children give that back to me, a thousand times over.  I think over the past few years I've probably received more hugs than most people get to experience in a lifetime.

Gratitude - That goes in both directions.  The children and their families are always thanking me for bringing laughter and joy into their lives, and I'm equally grateful that they've allowed me to spend such                        precious moments with them.

Compassion - Understanding that the young patients we visit often spend countless hours alone in their hospital rooms, or are constantly being poked and prodded and subjected to difficult medical procedures helps us be compassionate while we're with them. We give them a fun, distracting escape from all of that.

Simplicity - I often joke that we keep what we do simple enough for adults to be able to do it.  Although our cartooning programs are aimed at the children, parents and family members are encouraged to join in              because they are suffering too.

Humor - Laughter is a huge part of cartooning.  If you can get a young patient giggling and smiling, it can help kill their pain and greatly reduce the stress they are going through.

Creativity - I tell every child I visit that I can teach them how to draw their own cartoon characters, but encourage them to change things around, experiment and make each drawing their own.  Studies have                shown that creativity activities have an extremely positive impact on young patients, and that's why we want them to stretch their imaginations and explore their own creativity instead of just copying what someone else is doing.

Openness - All of the volunteers who do the Drawn To Help visits with young patients open their hearts to the children we serve.  And in return, they open up to us.  Stories and dreams they share with us can help their Art Therapists and caregivers better understand what they're going through, and can inspire the children to look past what they're going through and dream openly about their futures.

Anything else you’d like to share? I just want to thank everyone at Life Is Good for their generosity and giving spirits.  You're doing such wonderful things, and I'm honored and grateful that you're going to be a part of everything we do for the children we serve.  Thank you!


"We will use the $1500 for our Waves of Empowerment program which enriches the well-being of veterans and civilians of all abilities and backgrounds taking them from the battleground to the playground. We foster relationships and life experiences utilizing canine counter-parts in a non-judgmental environment. Opportunities are provided that enable veterans to continue their life of service and find new purpose by engaging in community service while mentoring and inspiring future generations. It's a unique initiative that empowers those who have separated from the military or are in the process of transitioning out of combat situations and back into civilian life. Each veteran becomes a mentor and is paired one-on-one with a child who has special needs for a day of paws-on healing through canine-assisted adaptive surfing paddling swimming playing and therapy. Every 65 minutes a veteran with PTSD takes their life by suicide. That's 22 lives a day! Kids with special needs and people with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society. We are determined to reduce these staggering statistics and improve the lives of our physically and emotionally wounded war heroes while embracing diversity and creating an all-inclusive environment for our service members kids with special needs and people with disabilities. Thank you for the opportunity!"

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?
My dogs! Both Ricochet and Cori have chosen their own life purpose. One day on the beach, Ricochet jumped on the surfboard of a boy who is quadriplegic. My new pup, Cori has the instinctual reaction to rescue people in the water. Nurturing and building upon their natural talents, I developed the Waves of Empowerment program to help kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD.

How are you hoping your community responds?
I hope they recognize the unique, but powerful program that we offer. As such, I hope we reach more donors and volunteers to support the program. But more importantly, I hope families in the community participate in our no cost activities so we can decrease the staggering statistics of 22 veterans a day taking their lives by suicide due to PTSD, and the drowning epidemic in kids with autism and other special needs. I hope the community embraces our out-of-the-box methods for healing and they have fun while they’re doing it!

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?
Because there is much more good in the world than bad. Unfortunately we are inundated with bad news and tragedies every day. However, goodness will always prevail even if we have to struggle to get there. A very powerful magnetic energy is created when people join together for the greater good of their communities. People who have suffered trauma or other life altering experiences focus on the negative which leaves them in a deep state of despair. But the dark curtain of negativity can be replaced with a bright healing energy by focusing on the good through helping others.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

If we are supposed to pick one that is mentioned above, it would be creativity because through my dog’s natural talents and my out-of-the-box thinking, we create one of a kind canine-assisted programs that help people heal their hearts, and find goodness again.

If we can choose a superpower that isn’t mentioned above, I would say it’s listening. By listening to what my dogs are saying, I not only created programs to help others, but I’ve garnered my own life purpose. This path is full of good which I value tremendously because my life has been filled with devastating losses. I never thought I’d feel good again, but then a dog stepped into my life and changed everything!


"My husband John is a 6th grade teacher at Feagin Mill Middle School in Warner Robins Ga.. He takes his personal time and money from his own pocket to facilitate a boys group called "Men of the Mill". The idea is to take a group of highly motivated academically advanced boys as well as a group of boys that are struggling either behaviorally or academically and pair them off. They swap small groups each week and the idea is to help them all find common ground. They meet twice a week once for a "meeting" where they discuss issues from their own personal struggles and achievements to race equality respect for one another relations with law enforcement respect for women and generally what it takes to be a "man" in today's world. Their second meeting each week is some kind of activity; flag football basketball tournaments field trips etc. The catch is that they have to meet their academic and behavior goals all week in order to participate. Each standard is set individually to an attainable goal for each child. The motivation behind this group is to not only establish common ground between all the boys but to help them to accept one another and to challenge each other in a healthy and positive way. For each part to work together for the good of the whole. I am so proud of my husband for the work that he has done and the positive influence he has had in the lives of these young men. I have no doubt that the future of these children is brighter because of his actions and that if this idea could spread to their schools it could change the way men in our society relate to one another. If I could give this money to anyone- I would give it to him. The activities and things that he does with the boys always cost and he personally foots the bill. I would love to establish a fund that could be used to reward these boys for their hard work and would take the financial burden off my husband. I am a huge fan of Malcolm Mitchell and the work he has done with Read with Malcolm. He used his athletic success as a platform to support children who may face the same adversity that he did. This is the same thing I feel John is doing with his boys. He is using the platform he was given to make a positive change in the lives of a few boys- but you never know the impact that just one of these boys can have in the future."

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?

Kids sometimes need a positive influence and positive reinforcement in their life.  By offering these boys a reason to stay out of trouble AND giving them the tools they need in order to do so, they are able to gain a sense of what its like to succeed.  This taste of success, along with the life skills they are learning at Men of the Mill, gives them the desire to succeed in other areas of life as well as the confidence in themselves to make things happen. 

How are you hoping your community responds?

Ideally the community would not only offer support (monetary support, moral support, etc) but also that this program would be replicated in other schools.  The middle school years are a formidable time for kids.  This is usually when they decide what path they will take; if they take a bad one, they may never come back from it.  If we hope for anything to come out of this program, it will be to keep these kids heading down the right path, at least thru these years that can have such a profound effect on who they will become.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?

The world we see around us today, the television we watch, the books we read, the cinema we watch, what fills our social media feeds... all of these are filled with negative thoughts and influences. The violence in movies and video games, the hate we see happening in the streets, the negativity reported by our news media; all of that negative energy in the world just traps us all in this box where the bad is all we can see.  If we all commit to doing something, just one positive thing everyday and turn off one negative influence everyday, the positive could begin to break us all out of the negative cycle we seem to be stuck in. The only way for a real positive change in our country to happen, is for us all to wake up and realize that rather than “protesting” or “talking”, we each have to commit to making an actual positive change in ourselves, in our families, and in our communities. If we all did that, the negativity that plagues our country would lift overnight.

At Life is Good we have these things we call superpowers – unlike bullet speed and super strength – they are qualities we have with in us all. Courage, Authenticity, Fun, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Simplicity, Humor, Creativity, Openness. Which superpower do you identify and why?

Authenticity, I am a very real guy. I don't put on heirs for anyone, including for the kids I work with. I tell them how it is.  I am completely open and honest with them about real life and real life situations, this level of honesty leads to some very real and sometimes tough conversations.

Anything else you’d like to share?   Though I greatly appreciate this prize and will put the money to good use.  The spotlight deserves to be on this program itself, not on me. This is a program that, thru your platform could hopefully spread to other schools and could make a real difference in the future of these kids and eventually in the world where we all live.  The boys in Men of the Mill are all working hard and are prospering in school. When they have hiccups, we can identify it quickly and help them see their way out before the situation becomes overwhelming or out of control.  It is this program and the result that it is having that should be shared, not my personal story. My story is no different than any of the other men and women in our schools who struggle through a messed-up system in an effort to make a difference for these kids.

Johanna and Lucy, Camp Echo Bridge - Newtown, MA

Intisar Turner | Boston, MA

MsturnerAccording to A. Intisar Turner (or Ms. Turner to her students), growing up school was nothing more than a chore, a “have to.”

“I was always good in math,” she confesses, “but school just felt like what I had to do, to eventually get a job—and fun was what I got to do when school and work were over.”

Then, in 2003, about a year after A. Intisar graduated college, she ended up in a classroom in Damascus, Syria.

“Maybe it took getting as far away from home as possible – but for the first time I saw—like really SAW—a joyful classroom. Kids AND teachers coming in happy, and ready to play and learn, together. I saw a love of education and thought; from here on out this…this is how I want to learn. This is how I want to have fun. And I immediately knew this is how I want to give back. I want to teach.”

A.Intisar Turner came back to the States and earned her teaching certificate and became a math teacher and a Mom. She noticed that bringing the fun would require her to step even further out of her comfort zone.

“These kids – my son and the kids in my classroom – they just had all of these needs. They needed to LIKE trying new foods. They needed to LIKE reading. They needed to LIKE exercising. Just doing these things, wouldn’t be enough – it needed to be a part of their culture. Trying different ways to reach their needs brought me to step out of my comfort zone of traditional education. I began to start to try to reach my students needs through their comfort zones. Eventually I actually liked it too.”

Turns out Ms. Turner likes making music and writing. So, she convinced her son Abdur-Rahman (A-Roc) and nieces J.La and Sajdah to start a band with her called, Family Tree. And they got to work creating covers of popular songs and original hooks about eating well, reading, and exercising our minds and bodies.

P1040815“I didn’t know I was an artist, but I became one by recognizing the needs of the kids in the communities around me. Being a teacher and a mom, lead me to become a movie maker, an author, a song writer, and risk taker. It also lead me to writing my first children’s book called “It Wasn’t Tradition” to help empower girls and women.”

The response from her family, her students, and her community has been overwhelming. Thousands (and thousands) of views. Hundreds (and hundreds) of engaged, joyful kids. And another lasting reminder of all of the good that grows, when we replant our “have tos,” to “get tos.”

Today, you can find Ms. Turner being an everyday hero, a game changer, and a Playmaker for her many current and former students at the Nathan Hale School in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Support the work of the Life is Good Kids Foundation and Playmakers like Ms.Turner.submit_03

Lauren Orozco | San Antonio, TX

LaurenOHow did you use the $500 to grow the good?

I used the generous grant to send highly personalized care packages to eight different deserving recipients. The eight people were made up of both people I knew and people I didn't know. Those I didn't know were nominated by someone as being deserving or in need of some extra love and care. In those cases, I have a list of questions I send to the nominator to fill out about their nominee to help me get to know the person better so that I can create a truly personalized care package.

One recipient was a dear friend who was coping with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. One was a 19-year-old who had lost his younger sister to cancer just two months prior. One was the mother of a longtime friend who was battling a number of medical issues. She ended up passing away months later and her family continues to comment on how special the care package was to her. One was for a sweet seven-year-old girl who is known for doing random acts of kindness. One was for a young woman with down syndrome who had just lost her father. And three were for friends "just because" as a reminder of how much I care about them. Each care package takes me at least six weeks and no two are the same.

My idea didn't change, but I certainly felt a huge boost from being one of the grant recipients. I was never sending care packages for the "glory" or the gratitude but having someone think you are doing something meaningful and kind (and recognizing you for it) is so humbling and so motivating.

What inspired you to choose this goal or action?

I have been creating and sending care packages for about eight years and it has really evolved over the years. Initially, I was just sending greeting cards to people here and there just to say hello or to remind them that I was thinking of them. It was amazing to me what a difference a small gesture like that seemed to make in someone's day, so I thought, "if I can make a difference with a simple card, imagine what a package could do!" At that point, I started sending small, simple packages, which seemed to make an even bigger impact on people! And it just kept evolving into what it is today. My care packages got more and more elaborate and more and more personalized. I started asking for nominations and doing care package giveaways and it turned into my main hobby. I love the idea of sending things through the mail - I think the effort involved in physically mailing something is meaningful and communicates extra care.

How did you feel during and after your #growthegood?

Where do I even start? Sending care packages feels selfish at times because I get so much out of it. I feel so much during the process - inspired and in awe of some of the recipients and what they've been through, honored by the chance to really get to know someone and hear his/her story, energized by the challenge of making each one truly original and personal, incredibly excited the day the care package goes out, and even a little anxious - hoping that I did the recipient justice and that he or she will be able to feel all the love and thought that went into it. I feel a special connection to each person after creating a care package for them and it makes me feel like I'm using my life in a meaningful way.

How have you inspired others around you?

One of my absolute favorite parts of creating and sending care packages is when someone reaches out to me with an interest in starting their own care package hobby. I've had a number of people ask for tips or suggestions for creating a care package. As a result, I created an outline of the process I go through when I'm putting together a care package as well as tips and common places to look for unique and personalized items. I send this to people who have an interest in creating care packages but don't know where to start. I have had a few people share with me the care packages they have done as a result. I have also partnered with people that are interested in doing them in creating a care package together for someone. Also, a couple years ago, my mom (who is a talented artist) got involved and now creates a piece of original artwork for each care package I do. She has painted portraits and other paintings, made jewelry bowls, and created beautiful coasters out of ceramic tiles and alcohol inks.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the good?

I love the term "growing the good" because goodness really does grow. It can start with something seemingly small and spread and grow in such unexpected and meaningful ways. Good is contagious and that's why it's so important. I feel like most things in life are proportional - like you get what you put into it. But acts of kindness are so different. It doesn't take much to create a huge result. You never know when a small gesture might be timed just right or be just what someone needs in the moment. I've learned to never underestimate the power of putting a little extra thought and intentionality in the way you interact with and treat others and that growing the good starts in those small moments. Everyone has something to offer and everyone has unique strengths and talents - it's about knowing what yours are and using them in a way that lifts people up. We are all in this together and I believe we are all connected so acts of kindness and growing the good has ripple effects - it not only has an impact on the intended recipient but on everyone as a collective.

Will Chapman, Playmaker | Newtown, CT

“Officer Chapman loves me.”

For William Chapman, School Resource Officer for Newtown, Connecticut, that’s the single most important message for him to convey to each and every child.

20170330_200024Officer Chapman is true to his title: he’s a resource. His presence at all of the schools and participation in the lives of the students is a critical part of building optimal environments for the children (and entire community) of Newtown to connect, engage, and explore.

Officer Chapman is also a Life is Good Playmaker.

“The best part about my job is connecting with the kids. It’s particularly fun at the elementary schools, when I go in, in full uniform and ask the kids what they think is my most important tool. They guess all the way around my belt, and then I give them the real answer: it’s my brain.”

With more than a decade of service of service and training under his belt (and shaping his mind), Officer Chapman is steadfast in his believe that you can solve any problem, if you just think about it. After thinking, should come acting – and that’s where Officer Chapman champions using his second most important tool:

“My voice.”

Officer Chapman uses his voice to help instill in every student that: “You matter and you are loved. Your brain matters. Your voice matters. And when it matters most, remember the most important parts of problem solving are always and already a part of you.”

Since engaging with The Life is Good Kids Foundation’s Playmaker Program, and becoming a partner in our movement to spread the power of optimism, Officer Chapman has found another strong, loving way to use his voice:

“The philosophy, the practices, even the language behind the Playmakers Program has helped me not just recognize, but name the lasting positive differences that others are making. When I see teachers going those extra miles, taking the time and putting in the energy to have everyone in their classes realize their potential, I have a name for that now.  I tell them: You’re a Playmaker, and there’s a whole team of us rooting you on.”

Support the work of the Life is Good Kids Foundation and Playmakers like Officer Chapman.submit_03